How GoodRx Helped Americans Save $5 Billion – and What’s Next

Doug Hirsch
Doug is co-founder of GoodRx.
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We started GoodRx with a simple question:

Could we make prescriptions affordable for all Americans?

Before we could help people save, we needed to see if we could find current, accurate drug prices (it’s harder than it looks!). Then, we set out to find discounts, coupons, savings tips, membership programs, patient assistance programs and anything else that could help folks find a way to afford their prescriptions.

Over the 7+ years we’ve been gathering all this, I’m happy to report that we’ve found many ways to help Americans reduce the cost of prescriptions. It’s an honor and a privilege to see so many people finding value and assistance in the information and resources we provide.

Recently, we took a few minutes to add up the amount of money people have saved using GoodRx. We’re proud to report that as of April 2018, Americans have saved more than $5 billion with GoodRx ($5.6 billion, to be exact).

For me, that number is a brief stop on a long journey. Americans spend more than $400 billion every year on prescriptions, yet more than 200 million prescriptions are left at the pharmacy counter annually because they remain too expensive. Even worse, when patients don’t take their meds, they often end up in the hospital, which leads to almost 125,000 deaths and $300 billion in medical costs each year. If we’re going to make a difference, we have a long way to go.

Some other observations we’ve found:

Drug prices are really, really complicated.

For the millions of Americans taking a medication, the price of their medicine is often a mystery until they show up at the pharmacist’s counter. And that price can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy. This was the original insight that inspired GoodRx in 2011, but we continue to be amazed at just how confusing and complicated drug prices can be. You’d be surprised how few people who work in healthcare actually understand why drugs cost what they do.

We’ve made a lot of progress in making prices more transparent and available – but it’s still crazy complicated. Today, we gather billions of prices, savings tips, manufacturer discounts, and more, and we have a team of data scientists constantly working to perfect our prices and maximize patient savings. We are dedicated to helping understand drug prices and explaining it to the world, so that we can help people understand their options before they get to the pharmacy.

Insurance is valuable but it’s often not your best option.

When people pay with a GoodRx discount, they’re choosing not to use insurance. There are, of course, many millions of Americans without insurance (about 30 million, according to current data). But what surprised us is how many insured Americans have insurance but also use GoodRx. More 70% of our visitors have health insurance.

So why do insured individuals use GoodRx? It’s pretty simple: our prices are often better than their copay, or what they’d pay under their deductible. Not just sometimes better – a lot of the time better. We’ve run the numbers and it looks like GoodRx beats insurance prices about half the time, for most people.

Of course what you pay depends on your insurance plan, so we can’t guarantee that GoodRx will always have lower prices than insurances. But with more people facing high deductibles, co-pays climbing, and insurers covering fewer drugs, well, we think it’s pretty much common sense for all Americans, insured and uninsured alike, to check GoodRx before they fill their prescription.

Affordable healthcare is one issue we all agree on.

We’ve been around long enough to see the birth of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and subsequent changes under President Trump. If you watch the news, it seems as if our country is becoming more polarized and it’s hard to get people to agree on anything. However, we’ve found that all Americans seem to agree that affordable healthcare is both a priority and something that we, as a nation, have the capacity to achieve. Regardless of what’s happening in Washington, we are committed to finding solutions that improve access to healthcare for everyone.

As we look to the future, we see reasons for both hope and concern. On the one hand, more and more generic versions of drugs are being released, and many life-changing generic drugs continue to get cheaper. On the other hand, most projections indicate that fewer and fewer Americans will have insurance in the coming years, and people lucky enough to have insurance will still find themselves responsible for a greater share of their medical costs.

Ok, enough reflection. Onwards to $10 billion.

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