Since the year 2014, prescription drug prices in the United States have risen by 33 percent. As a result of these steady price increases, millions of people throughout the country have found themselves struggling to afford the medications they need to stay healthy.
Are you in this position right now? Do you need help saving money on your medications? If so, keep reading.
Discussed below are some top tips that will help you to find an affordable pharmacy to fill prescriptions today.
- 1 Why Do Pharmacy Prices Vary So Much?
- 2 How to Find a Cheap Pharmacy
- 3 Focus on Generic Drugs
- 4 Ask About Alternatives
- 5 Use Comparison Sites
- 6 Be Willing to Use Multiple Pharmacies
- 7 Consider Independent Pharmacies
- 8 Use Your Big-Box Membership
- 9 Consider Shopping without Insurance
- 10 Try an Online Pharmacy
- 11 Find an Affordable Pharmacy Today
Why Do Pharmacy Prices Vary So Much?
If you’ve never filled prescriptions at multiple pharmacies, you’ll likely be surprised to learn that prices can vary dramatically from place to place.
Why is this the case? How can the same drug be double or triple the price at one pharmacy compared to another?
Prescription drug prices vary because of negotiations that take place between drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers (also known as PBMs). When there are lots of PBMs from different pharmacies negotiating the price of a specific drug, the price will fluctuate quite a bit.
How to Find a Cheap Pharmacy
You now have a better understanding of why there are such significant differences between drug prices at different pharmacies. Next, let’s dive into the specific steps you can take to find the cheapest price for your medications.
Here are some tips to help you find the most affordable pharmacy:
Focus on Generic Drugs
When you’re looking for the cheapest pharmacy for your medications, it’s important to compare prices between generic drugs.
Pharmacies generally make a larger profit off of generic drugs. These medications are often priced lower than the name brand option, which allows for more price fluctuations between different pharmacies.
Ask About Alternatives
In many cases, you need the specific medication that your doctor prescribed, and there’s no room for compromise. Sometimes, though, there’s an alternative that will be just as effective and more affordable.
Before filling a prescription, talk to the pharmacist. They’re an expert in pharmaceuticals, and they’ll be able to tell you if there’s a different medication that will help you to address your unique healthcare needs.
If they make a recommendation that’s more affordable, reach out to your doctor about getting a new prescription. Before filling the new prescription with a particular pharmacy, though, follow the other steps listed below to ensure you’re getting the absolute lowest price.
Use Comparison Sites
Comparison sites are an incredible tool that makes it easy for you to find the lowest price for a particular drug without having to drive to twelve different pharmacies.
When you use these sites, simply type in the name of the drug you’re looking for, along with your zip code and how many miles you want to travel. This will pull up a list of all the pharmacies in your area, as well as the approximate price they charge for a specific medication. You can use this list to find the cheapest option in your area.
Be Willing to Use Multiple Pharmacies
In the same way that you sometimes have to shop at multiple grocery stores to save money on food for the week, you might also have to fill prescriptions at multiple pharmacies to save money on medications.
Just because one pharmacy has the cheapest price for a specific prescription, that doesn’t mean it’s the most affordable place for all of your prescriptions. It’s best to use comparison sites for all of your medications to find the most affordable place for each one.
Consider Independent Pharmacies
Often, independent pharmacies have lower prescription drug prices than chains like CVS or Walgreens. Don’t write these options off because they’re unfamiliar. They have the same medications as any other pharmacy, and there’s a good chance you can save a lot of money by shopping with them.
Use Your Big-Box Membership
Big-box stores like Costco and Sam’s Club have pharmacies attached to them, and those pharmacies tend to have more affordable prices than many other options. If you have a membership to a store like this and are shopping there on a regular basis anyway, why not see if your prescriptions will be cheaper as well?
Don’t forget, in many cases, you don’t even have to be a member of a big-box store to use the pharmacy. You can still fill your prescriptions there, you just won’t be able to do any additional shopping.
Consider Shopping without Insurance
Sometimes, it’s cheaper to shop for prescriptions without insurance. Ideally, being insured will make your medications more affordable. That’s not always the case, though.
Pharmacy benefit manufacturers and drug manufacturers know that they can charge an insurance company more money for a specific medication and that they’ll receive that asking price. As a result, rates for someone using insurance might be higher than for an individual paying out of pocket.
When you’re comparing different pharmacies, be sure to find out what the price of your prescription will be without insurance. This helps you to ensure you’re truly getting the best price. When you shop without insurance, you might also be able to use coupons that lower the price even more.
Try an Online Pharmacy
Don’t underestimate the benefits of an affordable online pharmacy, either.
There are lots of reputable online pharmacy options these days that you can use to fill your prescriptions without leaving your house. Many of these pharmacies even deliver!
When you’re thinking about using an online pharmacy, do some detective work to ensure it’s legitimate. Look for a certification from a professional organization like the FDA, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, the Canadian International Pharmacy Association, or the Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand.
Find an Affordable Pharmacy Today
At first, the term “affordable pharmacy” might seem like an oxymoron. If you keep these tips in mind, though, you’ll have a much easier time finding the cheapest pharmacy to fill your prescriptions.
Do you want to learn more about how you can save money on other healthcare costs? If so, head to the Health section of our site today for more tips and tricks.