Consumer Reports has a free online service called, Best Buy Drugs.
Consumer Reports Health Editor, Ronni Sandroff says the site now has recommendations for 35 conditions, including asthma and insomnia.
"We work with a team of medical researchers to identify prescription drugs that are safe, effective and available at a lower cost" says Ronni Sandroff.
The savings can be substantial. For high cholesterol, instead of Lipitor at $98 a month, Best Buy Drugs says Lovastatin at $34 would be a better choice for many people. That's a savings of nearly $800 a year.
For type 2 diabetes, instead of Actos for $151 a month, Best Buy Drugs recommends starting with Metformin, an older medication that costs $42, for a savings of more than $1,300 a year.
"Often older drugs are as good or even better than newer drugs. They've been taken by millions of people, so usually we have a better idea of their long-term safety" says Sandroff.
Consumer Reports says if your doctor offers you free samples of a prescription drug, you should be wary. Those free samples usually come from the drug companies to promote their newest brand-name drugs, but check with your doctor if there might be another choice that's better and less expensive.