The Problem With Prescriptions

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Right now, generic Lipitor costs $150 at one major pharmacy chain but the exact same medication is FREE at a pharmacy across the street.

In America, prescription drugs cost too much. Up to 45% of Americans have trouble paying for the prescriptions they require, and 26% of Americans simply don't fill prescriptions because they simply can't afford it. The #1 reason Americans don’t take their medications as prescribed is cost.

Even if you can afford to pay, you (or a combination of you, your insurance company, your employer and/or the government) are likely paying too much for your prescriptions. It can cost less than $0.01 to manufacture a pill, so why do we pay $10, $100 or even $1,000 for meds? Even a $10 insurance co-pay can often be 2-3 times what the fair price of a medicine should be.

You probably already knew drugs were expensive. But did you know:

  1. Prices for prescription drugs vary widely between pharmacies.
    Most Americans assume that drug prices are regulated or fixed. That’s simply not true. Prices 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).

  2. Uninsured? It’s easy to get a better price.
    Prices for most drugs at most pharmacies are very high for the uninsured patient. However, there are many ways to save 80% or more - coupons, savings tips, pharmacy discounts, manufacturer discounts, cheaper alternative drugs or even just asking for a better price! Sadly, there’s never been an easy way to find these discounts and know the fair price for your drug.

  3. Insured? Your co-pay may not be your lowest price.
    Health insurance is great, but it's far from the only way to save money on your meds. For example, hundreds of generic medications are available for $4 or even free without insurance …if only you know where to go. Your insurance co-pay of $10 doesn't sound so great if GoodRx can point you to the exact same drug for 60% less.

    Plus, many insurance plans have high deductibles or limited formularies that don't cover the drugs you need. Lastly, even insured patients buying covered brand-name drugs would probably want to know about coupons that could save them $500 or more per year.

  4. The price of drugs has been decreasing, but you’re paying more.
    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 now 25-80% more than just 10 years ago as insurance companies make you pay for your drugs.

  5. Your doctor may not know how much your drugs cost.
    A doctor’s primary job is to make sure that you receive the best care, not track costs. Drug prices change all the time, pharmacies charge different prices, and everyone has different insurance plans - so it’s very hard for them to know what you’ll pay. But it is important that you know, so that you don't leave the doctor's office with a prescription that you can't (or don't want to) fill.

Fortunately, GoodRx can help.

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GoodRx is not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the pharmacies identified in its price comparisons. All trademarks referenced are the trademarks of their respective owners. This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. GoodRx is not offering advice, recommending or endorsing any specific prescription drug, pharmacy or other information on the site. GoodRx provides no warranty for any of the pricing data or other information. Please seek medical advice before starting, changing or terminating any medical treatment.