Consumers get help from go-to apps for finding the best deals on generic prescription drugs, researching specific medications and conditions, evaluating the amount of toxins in personal-care products, and a quickie workout with a big payoff.
What: Prescription-drug search engine for best price in your area or online.
Available: iOS, Android (and Web at goodrx.com)
Comment: Why spend time researching the best price on a Ninja blender or Shark Cordless Sweeper and not on your prescription drugs? Insurers don’t always have the best prices, particularly on generics.
Costco is regarded as the best source for prescription generics – you don’t have to be a member, either. Wal-Mart and Target sell hundreds of generics for $4. Walgreens’ Prescription Savings Club, with a $20 individual membership fee ($35 for families) discounts three tiers of generics starting at $5 for a 30-day supply. Sam’s Club (again, available to non-members) and CVS also have discount programs.
GoodRX streamlines shopping with access to millions of prices, available discounts and manufacturer’s coupons. Check prices here, then call the local store to confirm. Or try ordering online. The potential savings, in time and money, are great.
What: Information on more than 1,500 medications.
Available: iOS, Android (and Web at pocketpharmacist.io)
Comment: A research tool for medical professionals, caregivers and patients that lists a drug’s chemical name, category, indications/dosage and precautions. The Med Check feature checks for interactions with other drugs and side effects.
Though PocketPharmacist’s Med Box is integrated with Walgreens’ pharmacies for refills and reminders, the app has no pharmaceutical sponsor. It was founded by Michael Guren, a clinical pharmacist.
Once downloaded, the app does not need an Internet connection.
What: The Environmental Working Group’s database with evaluations of ingredients in more than 72,000 personal care products.
Available: iOS, Android (and Web at ewg.org/skindeep)
Comment: Know what you’re putting on, or in, your body with this database searchable by product name or by scanning a product’s bar code with a smartphone camera.
Those who have visited the EWG’s online database know its value. The app puts it in the hand of the shopper for an instant assessment of the potential health risks of a health-beauty aid product. In my case, the downloaded app precipitated a scan-a-thon of my own personal-care product inventory. I wasn’t worried about Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, but was aghast when the American Crew Forming Cream – the first hair-care product I had used since crew wax when I was 10 years old – scored an ominous 8 on the 10-point hazard scale.
It scored low for cancer risk, moderate for developmental/reprotoxicity and high for allergic reactions.
With beach season not too far away, be sure to check sunscreen ingredients before buying.
What: A symptom navigator, supplemented by databases for conditions, procedures and medications.
Available: iOS, Android (and Web at itriagehealth.com)
Comment: This app, founded by two emergency-room doctors who sold the company to health-care giant Aetna in 2011 and left the start-up two years later, also assists in finding medical professionals and treatment locally.
Under Aetna’s ownership, the app (and site) has become more personalized, inviting users to input personal health information and get updates on claims status. The app’s medical information, reviewed by Harvard Medical School, is still the best reason to join the other 12 million-plus people who have downloaded this app.
Johnson & Johnson 7-Minute Workout
What: Quick-hit exercise program
Available: iOS, Android
Comment: Cheat the system, which recommends 30 minutes of heart-pumping exercise a day, with this powerhouse regime that takes only seven minutes, a wall and a chair. I’ve tried it. Even if you exercise regularly, you’ll still feel the burn from the side plank, abdominal crunch and the motionless “wall sit.”
This workout combines aerobic and resistance exercises that target specific muscle groups. Keep it fresh by choosing from 12 other workouts and 36 exercises, depending on your fitness level. This is a game anybody can play.