The pandemic has spurred more Americans to do their shopping online, and shopping for medications is no exception. In addition to the mail-order business of big chains, such as CVS and Walgreens, and established online vendors, like Amazon and Costco.com, there are now many online pharmacy newcomers, including GeniusRx, Honeybee Health, Ro Pharmacy, ScriptCo Pharmacy, and Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co.
But while in many cases they offer rock-bottom prices, shopping for meds online is not the only way to save. Here are some others.
1. Use GoodRx Coupons at a Walk-In Pharmacy
GoodRx is a company that provides free coupons that give you discounts on meds. Available on its website or via the GoodRx app, the coupons can save you 80 percent off the list price of generic drugs at certain pharmacies. For more savings, consider joining the GoodRx Gold program, which gives you access to more than 1,000 meds for less than $10 per prescription. An individual membership costs $10 a month; for $20 a month you can add five family, friend, or even pet members. Bonus: Primary Gold account holders also get telehealth doctor visits for as little as $19.
2. Check Out Discount Programs at Walgreens and Walmart
Signing up for the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club Program lets you fill prescriptions for hundreds of generic drugs for $7.50, $10, or $15 for a 30-day supply, or $15, $20, or $30 for a 90-day supply—no insurance needed. The membership costs $20 a year for an individual or $35 for a family. Walmart’s free Prescription Program makes dozens of drugs available for $4 for a month’s supply or $10 for a 90-day supply. Bonus: Supermarkets like Kroger, H-E-B, and others also offer discounted generic drug programs. Check those in your area for details.
3. Look for Generics Offered by Your Insurer
If you have an Aetna health insurance plan, for example, you can use the Aetna Rx Discount Pharmacy Card (PDF) at participating pharmacies in the insurer’s network to get preferred rates.
Call the number on the back of your insurance card to find a pharmacy near you. Or if your drug coverage is through CVS/Caremark, you can get discounts on several dozen select generics if you fill the prescription at a CVS pharmacy or through CVS.com.
4. Search for Copay Coupons or Patient Assistance Programs
Getting a discount on the cash price of a branded drug is a little trickier than for a generic, but it’s still possible.
Drugmakers offer copay discount programs if you sign up, but only if you have insurance. For people whose income meets certain thresholds, a drug company’s assistance program may supply drugs free, even to some people without insurance.
You’ll find manufacturer discount programs for branded drugs on the GoodRx website or app.
Bonus: Check out NeedyMeds for free assistance with finding and filing the paperwork for many manufacturer programs.
5. Ask Your Local Drugstore for a Discount
Unlike chain pharmacies, which have set cash prices, your community pharmacy may have more leeway with pricing medication, says Doug Hoey, PharmD, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association. And Brandy Letson, PharmD, owner of Cashiers Valley Pharmacy in Cashiers, N.C., says your local independent pharmacy can sometimes meet or even beat low prices at a chain or online pharmacy, but you have to ask.
Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the May 2022 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.
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