Prescription drug pricing has been a frequent topic in the news in the past year as people try to manage rising drug costs. The lack of insurance coverage for specific drugs can increase prices even further. Up to 45% of Americans have trouble paying for the prescriptions they require and 26% of Americans simply don’t fill prescriptions because they can’t afford it. The #1 reason Americans don’t take their medications as prescribed is cost.
Prices for prescription drugs can vary widely between pharmacies. Most individuals assume that drug prices are regulated or fixed, which is not true. Prices can vary wildly in drugstores that are literally across the street from each other, especially when filling generic medications (which make up about 80% of the prescription fills in America). If you are insured, the price will likely not vary as much between different pharmacies, but your co-pay may not be the lowest price you could be paying. For example, hundreds of generic medications are available for $4 or even free without insurance. Your insurance co-pay of $10 doesn’t sound so great if you can get the same exact drug for a cheaper price.
One website that can help you determine whether or not you could be saving money on your prescription drugs is GoodRx. GoodRx tracks prescription drug prices and offers drug coupons that could potentially lower the cost you pay for prescriptions, whether you have insurance or not. If you are uninsured, it could be very beneficial as prices for most drugs at pharmacies are very high for uninsured patients. Savings could be as high as 80% or more on drugs for those who are not insured, especially if the prescriptions needed are available as generics. Many big brand name drugs (such as Lipitor, Lexapro and Singulair) have recently become available as generics. When brand-name drugs go generic, their price rapidly decreases from potentially hundreds of dollars to as little as $4. However, insurance companies are pushing more of the cost of drugs onto the patient – your share of the cost is likely now 25-80% more than just 10 years ago. In other words, your insurance co-pay for generic drugs could be higher than the actual cost of the drug needed. With GoodRx, you can eliminate this problem and search for any brand name or generic drug. For any given search, a list of the lowest prices offered and the associated pharmacies is provided to you. GoodRx is a free service that is easy to use – simply visit their website at www.goodrx.com or download their mobile app and see if you could be saving money on your prescription drugs.