What Consumers Need to Know to Save Money On Prescription Drugs

Posted by on Apr 25, 2013 in Health | 0 comments

What Consumers Need to Know to Save Money On Prescription Drugs


Research shows that Americans spent more than $750 upfront for prescription medications in 2012. A survey of both insured and uninsured individuals who regularly took prescription medications showed that the average person spent more than $1,200 out of pocket in the span of one year. After analyzing the results of their study, researchers agreed that the best way for people to save money today is to shop around.

Their team of secret shoppers contacted over 200 different pharmacies in the United States to inquire about prices for monthly supplies. When asking companies about prices, they referred specifically to five drugs that had recently become available as generics. Between the pharmacies quoting the highest and lowest prices, the difference was almost $750. Some independent pharmacies came in with very low prices, but several of the popular big-name pharmacies had the highest prices. As a rule, the bigger stores where the pharmacy was the main or only business were the most expensive. However, discount retail stores that had pharmacies as traffic builders were less expensive than the most popular pharmacy names. Some online retailers also had good prices.

In addition to comparing prices of various pharmacies, there are other ways consumers can save money on prescription drugs. Consider the following suggestions:

Use Generics
Any time a prescription is received, ask the doctor or pharmacist for the generic version. This will save a considerable amount of money.

Ask for the Best Price
Many pharmacies have discount prices and list prices. When the researchers in the study mentioned earlier were calling different companies, they were often quoted the list price. However, some were quoted discount prices. People who do not have insurance should make a habit of asking for discount prices. Pharmacies often have senior and student discounts, so people who fit in these categories should also ask about these.

Avoid Buying from Pharmacies in Big Cities
Research shows that some of the highest prices are found in big cities. Grocery stores, independent drug stores and chain companies all tend to have higher prices in these areas. People who want to save money should consider shopping online or in a more rural area.

Ask For a Larger Refill
The majority of pharmacies offer discounts for three-month supplies, so it is better to avoid the 30-day supply option whenever possible.

Compare the Retail Cost
In some cases, people were able to find lower prices for their prescriptions at discount retail stores. This was even true with some drugs that were partially covered by insurance plans.

Find Additional Discounts
Many chain stores and big-name drugstores have membership clubs and other savings plans. Some even offer special plans where generics are less than $5 per month and about $10 for a three-month supply for members. Some special programs require membership fees, which should be weighed against the anticipated yearly cost of drugs to determine the real savings.

While low costs are found at a variety of stores and independent pharmacies, experts still recommend using only one pharmacy. By doing this, consumers ensure that their data is saved and easy to access for future use. This helps pharmacists avoid handing out drugs that could cause interactions with other drugs they know the person is taking. For more information about choosing a pharmacy, discuss concerns with an agent.