By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Is the high price of prescription medication enough to make you sick? Even when people have insurance, almost half of Americans don’t fill their prescriptions because of rising co-pays! 3 On Your Side’s Jim Donovan looks at ways you can save.

If you take prescription medications you could be dealing with pricey co-pays, high deductibles or donut holes.

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“You really need to advocate for yourself and start kind of wheeling and dealing to see what kind of deal you can get,” said Lisa Gill with Consumer Reports.

Gill says there are several ways to save.

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“There are many cases where a retail pharmacy, something like a CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Costco, Sam’s club, they offer hundreds of generic medications, deeply discounted. We call them the four dollar, ten dollar lists,” said Gill.

When Consumer Reports had its secret shoppers call hundreds of pharmacists across the country they noticed something interesting.

So we start with tip #1, always ask for the lowest possible price.

“Asking for the lowest price, or a better deal or your best deal can net you pretty substantial savings and if you tell them that you’re not going to use your insurance, they will usually help you try to find an alternative,” said Gill.

Tip #2 look beyond the big box pharmacies. For instance, did you know Costco often has low drug prices?

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“It’s probably one of Costco’s best kept secrets. That anybody in any state can stroll on into a pharmacy at Costco and use the pharmacy without being a member,” said Gill.

You may be able to snag a deal at small independent pharmacies too.

“One great thing about mom and pop independent pharmacies is that they often are willing to negotiate,” said Gill.

“When they go to a particular pharmacy it might be like 100 dollars there, the same medication they could get from us for like 10 dollars,” said Sam Siri with Adam’s Discount Pharmacy.

Siri says he can charge less because he has a lower profit margin.

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“Our main goal, is to help people and help patients save money on their prescription medications as much as they can,” said Siri.

Finally tip #3 look online for discounts.

“We’ve had good success from readers telling us that using online coupons like GoodRX or, if you’re not going to use your insurance, can also give you pretty substantial discounts on hundreds of everyday medications,” said Gill.

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If you try all of these things and you still can’t catch a break, consumer reports finds that it never hurts to go back to the doctor, or the pharmacist and ask for a therapeutic alternative. In some cases another drug in the same class of drugs could be equally effective, equally as safe, and far cheaper.