4 ways to save money on prescription medications

(BPT) - Anyone who has taken a prescription medication knows that pricing can be mystifying — and increasingly expensive. Especially if you have a chronic condition that requires ongoing treatment, prescription costs can add up quickly.

More and more we’re seeing the financial burden put back on the patient, making healthcare unaffordable even for those who have commercial insurance or Medicare. In fact, a recent survey conducted by GoodRx found 37% of Americans struggle to pay for their medications, forcing them to stop filling their prescriptions, borrow money, or make tough choices about food or housing costs.

That’s why it has become more important than ever for patients to be their own advocates and use free resources to save on their prescription medications. In fact, new research from GoodRx shows just how significant medication savings can be. In 2020, GoodRx saved an average of 79% off retail prices. By lowering out-of-pocket medication costs, GoodRx has helped patients obtain at least 78 million prescriptions they otherwise may not have been able to afford.

The next time you need to go to the pharmacy, take these steps to give your wallet a break.

1. Shop around!

The cost of the same drug can vary widely depending on the pharmacy you choose to visit. So don’t just settle for the first price you’re offered — take the time to research the cost at different retailers. You can do this by going to GoodRx.com, typing in the name of your medication, and seeing the cost of the drug at pharmacies around you. Prices can vary upwards of $100 in some instances.

GoodRx has saved Americans $30 billion on prescription drug costs (compared to pharmacy retail price) and helped patients obtain more than 78 million prescriptions that they otherwise may not have been able to afford. We believe that helping individuals afford their prescriptions may have helped these people stay healthy and out of the hospital, and save money on medical expenses so they could pay for necessities like food and rent.

2. If you can’t find savings, talk to your doctor

Before you fill your prescription, ask your doctor some questions to see if they can help you find the most affordable option.

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  • Do you have free samples? Doctors sometimes have samples of a medication, especially a new one, that you can try — or that you can take to bridge the gap until you get your prescription filled.
  • Are there generics or alternatives? Doctors may have information about a medication that can help keep costs down, such as generics that may be available, or whether there is a recommended alternative medication if the one they prescribe is not affordable.

3. Appeal your insurance

If you find you're paying too much because your medication is not covered by your insurance, submit an appeal. Your healthcare provider can help you with this process. Persistence is key.

But keep in mind that insurance doesn’t always provide the lowest cost. For the 100 most purchased medications in 2020, GoodRx users actually paid less than average commercial insurance copays 55% of the time — and users who paid less than the average commercial insurance copay saved an average of 52% off the average copay

4. Take advantage of a manufacturer savings program

Pharmaceutical manufacturers offer a variety of ways to help patients pay for prescriptions, such as copay cards, patient assistance programs, and free trial cards. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you must meet eligibility requirements based on income and insurance.

To search for available offerings from manufacturers, you can go to GoodRx, type in the drug name, and find a list of the available savings options all on one page.

So before you fill your next prescription at the pharmacy, take the time to look around and see how GoodRx can save you money.