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Saving Money on Prescription Drugs

Category Saving Money
As we all know the cost of prescription drugs can be a drain on your budget. This is a guide about saving money on prescription drugs.


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By 11 found this helpful
January 24, 2012

Due to a serious illness, I developed allergy/reactions to various medications, especially prescription drugs. This was costing me a small fortune, as I would fill a script and after 1 or 2 pills have to dispose of the rest because I could not tolerate them. We have no insurance so all scripts were paid in full by us.

My pharmacist finally told me that I could request a partial fill of a couple of pills and if they worked, get the rest and if not cancel the script! This tip has saved me hundreds of dollars. Now I always ask for a partial when getting a new drug script filled.

By PlumCottage from the beach in NJ

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January 25, 20120 found this helpful

Thank you so much! I too, have spent much $ on things I couldn't take. Now I will do this at my pharmacy. What a great tip!

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February 10, 2017

I work in a pharmacy and find there are several ways to save money on prescriptions that many of our patients are not aware of.

  1. If you have prescription insurance, either call your insurance company or ask your pharmacy tech to find you the least expensive fill. Some insurance companies will give you a better copay if you fill with a 90 day supply. Others give a better deal if you fill with a 30 day supply.

  2. Usually it is cheaper to fill with the generic rather than the brand name. But, not always. Ask.

  3. If you are filling with a brand name and are not on medicare or medicaid, ask your doctor or pharmacy for a coupon or google the medication and get on the manufacture's website. Many brand names have coupons to bring your copay down, or to pay a good part of it if you do not have prescription insurance. A few examples of this would be invonkana, invonkanamet, contrave, xarelto, restasis, brilinta, crestor and a lot more. Some of the coupons require that you activate them before use.

    **Most of these coupons are not legal to use if you are on medicare or medicaid**

  4. If you don't have insurance or the copay is too high, look at the manufacturer's website and see if they have a patient assistance program. Some are surprisingly generous with their income guidelines.
I realize that some of you may use pharmacies that take the so called "discount cards" that you get free in the mail. Ours does not. The reason we don't take them is that many of those actually make the prescription cost more because they mark the price up so that they can take a 25% cut for themselves. Then they also charge the pharmacy a fee for using it. As a result, a prescription that we normally have a cash price of $15 will end up costing you $21 and you have paid more, not saved.

We have patients who get prescriptions filled at more than one pharmacy, because it may be cheaper at one over the other. However, I don't recommend it. It is not worth the small savings when you compare it to the risks involved. What risk?? Many medications may react negatively with another medication. Your pharmacists can not catch that drug interaction if you get it filled elsewhere and he is not aware you are on that medication.

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March 7, 20170 found this helpful

The income guidelines for the patient assistance program are rather generous. So, check into it-you may be able to use it.

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By 12 found this helpful
June 4, 2009

With the economy these days prescription costs are just one more thing people worry about. Did you know that you can pay a reasonable price on many of the most needed medications if you just do your homework? Here are some tips to help.

I am full of this info, I have been in the pharmacy field since 1997! Hope this helps someone, and remember it never hurts to ask your pharmacist how your drugs can become less expensive and more affordable.

By jchoyle from Grass Valley, CA

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January 2, 20150 found this helpful

Thank you for this helpful information.

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February 22, 2010

To get some bang for your expensive prescription bucks, you may want to transfer some prescriptions to your local Kmart. They are having a special offer right now in which you can receive up to four $25 gift cards between now and April 10, 2010.

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By 1 found this helpful
March 23, 2010

Save some money and get well! Tell your physician to prescribe older medications or generic.

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February 10, 20051 found this helpful

Individual companies quietly give away millions of dollars in medication every year. If you or a family member simply cannot pay for much needed medicine, call the manufacturer directly.

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March 24, 2010

When I get single OTC pills through freebie offers (such as Zyrtec, Prilosec, etc.) I save them to put in a special "medical" pouch in my purse for emergencies. Ditto for single applications of SPF lotion.

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July 6, 2011

Pharmacies are constantly competing for new business and often have coupons offering a $10 or $25 store gift card for filling new prescriptions or transferring a prescription to their pharmacy.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 3, 2008

Check your prescription medications to see if they qualify for the "split a pill" program. The program identifies medications that you can take in 1/2 pill form and be safe knowing you are getting a correct dosage.

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May 21, 20040 found this helpful

To help you save money on your prescriptions while your at your doctors office ask the doctor if he has samples of the medication you need. Almost all doctors have tons of samples given to them by drug suppliers.

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October 13, 20130 found this helpful

Prescription Drugs

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This guide is about getting help paying for prescription drugs. There are assistance programs available to help you reduce the cost of prescriptions.


November 9, 20041 found this helpful

Any time my husband or I are started on a new prescription that will have to be repeated over and over I take a few minutes to call via the phone to check prices.

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February 25, 2008

If you take particular medications regularly, compare prices with different pharmacies. Call each of them and let them know each medication you take; the name of the drug, the dosage, and the amount your prescription calls for; and ask what their price is.

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March 26, 2012

Many people are entitled to benefits that they do not know about. In Massachusetts, there is a program to help offset the cost of medication not covered by Medicare.

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November 27, 2006

Patient Assistance Programs. You can get lots of medicines free! Go to Patient Assistance Programs and put in the name of your medicine. The site will direct you to the manufacturer and tell you how to apply. Their income standards are quite liberal.

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April 16, 20050 found this helpful

Consider having your doctor prescribe pills in a strength you can cut in half (not all meds are suitable for this). If you do this, buy a pill cutter for a few dollars at the drug store.

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August 8, 2003

One of our readers shares her experience with shopping around for prescription drugs and her savings as a result! Click on the link above to read.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 27, 2007

There is a website that allows you to print a coupon that can be used over and over for discounts on your prescription drugs. Most major pharmacies accept it, like Publix, Walgreens, WalMart, Target, Savon etc. Go to

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December 3, 20040 found this helpful

Make sure to take advantage of pharmacy offers to give gift cards if you'll transfer prescriptions. I recently transferred a medicine and received a $20 gift card...

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
August 3, 2006

Does anyone have any experience on buying prescription medications mail order from Canada?

Mizliz81 from Dickson, TN

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 5, 20060 found this helpful

Cheaper and faster than Canada, go to and check them out. I have many very expensive Rx's and have no problems getting my meds . They are about 1/4 of the cost in the states and I have used this site for over a year.

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August 5, 20060 found this helpful

I have bought my prescriptions for years from Canada, as I live just 50 miles south of the Orovile border. Never had a problem. You pay a $7 refill for each bottle (besides their cost) , and $50 for the canadian doctor to write prescriptions. I started buying my prescriptions from Costco on-line from their Lynnwood store. You can use the pharmacy from Costco even if your not a member, I think a 5 or 6% highter cost. I find MOST really cheaper than Canada, and if you use regular mail you pay no shipping charges......Hope this helps your pocket book.Laverne

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

June 4, 20090 found this helpful

Save Money on Prescription Drugs

Even with a prescription plan, prescription medicines can be expensive. Here are some tips from the ThriftyFun community about saving money on prescriptions. Feel free to post your own advice below.

Mail In Option

Many people don't know this, but their prescription plan may include a mail in option. Ours did and we got a 3 months supply at the same price we paid for a 1 month supply at the pharmacy. For our plan, shipping was free as long as you planned in advance and could wait 7-10 days for the script to come.

By fix it myself

Kaiser Mail Order

I'm with Kaiser Permanete and we have a mail order pharmacy. They send a three month supply for two copays (one free month). I just have to call them when I need the refill. They are very fast, usually only a couple of days. I can always go to the main pharmacy in an emergency but it is great for recurring meds.

By jess

Check Pharmacies, Drug Companies And Look For Homeopathic Remedies

Walmart also is offering good deals on generic prescriptions - $6 I believe - even available online at - I am not a fan of theirs - but this is a good program. And I recently saw a deal on a 3 month supply of prescriptions through Walgrens - I believe it was $12 something for a 3-month supply.

You can also appeal to the drug companies themselves for free or reduced price drugs through their drug programs. And always ask your doctor if he/she has any samples available - or ask about the price of the prescription. Most doctors won't think about price unless they are alerted to the fact that this could be a problem. And one last thing - check out the introductory deals available through drug company promotions - like a week of Ambien CR for free with an md's prescription. Every little bit helps.

I have also had success with adding homeopathic and herbal remedies to my regime - not to mention lots of vitamins. Better to prevent problems first!

By pamphyila

Five Tips For Saving On Prescriptions

First, ask your doctor whether the generic version is acceptable for you. It's always cheaper. My Prevacid was $150 per month, but the generic form, omeprazole, is under $10.

Second, shop at a superstore or warehouse store where they have $4 prescriptions on some medicines. In our area, that would be Walmart and Costco. I have heard that Smith's and Walgreen's do, but I can't verify that.

Third, see if you can get 90 day supplies ordered for the medicines you will be on for a long time. If you have a Part D carrier, your savings will be huge. Instead of paying the co-pay every month or 12 times per year, you only pay it four times a year. Even if you do not have Part D, you will save the dispensing fee that is tacked onto every prescription.

Fourth, charge it with a charge card that pays a reward. Even if it is only 1%, it beats a kick in the pants!

Fifth, pay your whole credit card balance off each month on the same day as the bill arrives, so you won't have to pay interest, which would negate all your carefully planned savings.

By coreenhart


Save Money on Prescription Drugs

I'm with Kaiser Permanete and we have a mail order pharmacy. They send a three month supply for two copays (one free month). I just have to call them when I need the refill. They are very fast, usually only a couple of days. I can always go to the main pharmacy in an emergency but it is great for recurring meds. (05/01/2009)

By jess

Save Money on Prescription Drugs

Just got a free sample of Zyrtec (which used to be available only w/prescription) - so watch out if your drugs become OTC. If they still work - use coupons/deals/sales to get best price - and look for generic versions - even cheaper. (05/01/2009)

By pamphyila

Save Money on Prescription Drugs

I called around to Wal-Mart, near ($450) ,Longs,Rite-Aid,etc to compare prices on Ambien. I was amazed of the difference in cost. Rite -Aid ( has a AAA discount in case you didn't know it) was cheaper at $179.00.( At that time they were MFG. in Ohio, Origin, France)

Now for the kicker. Costco will not give you a price over the phone, so when I was there I went back to the Pharmacy to ask them....$21.75 for 100 tablets?

And one other interesting fact they are coming from India,(Slovania?- Kaiser),Wal-mart(Jordan) etc. Seems to me that someone is making a HUGE profit since these are generic drugs. And how do we know what they are putting in the meds that we are importing? I'm referring to the TV program a few years ago saying some companies were using the white powdery chalk like stuff in drywall to cut the drugs they are making. Just be aware and ASK what country of origin your meds are made in.( If you care) Peel back the pharmacy label if you have a bottle from the MFG.and look to see for yourself.

Even here I called one of the MFG. in West Virgina making Ambien to ask them If they were making the drug there,She said "Oh yes". I then asked her if they knew WHERE the ingredients were from and after a long pause, she said No, we don't know where some of the ingredients comes from. It is a sad fact that we are at the mercy of so many other countries now. GG Vi (05/23/2009)

By Great Granny Vi

Save Money on Prescription Drugs

I would never consider ordering my medicine. Some things are okay to be cheap or save on but somethings are not. Your health is not! I love being able to go to my pharmacy and talk to him about my medicine and I don't think it would be fair if you didn't get your medicine from him. Also I use him as my second person when the doctor gives me a new medicine, I check to make sure that medicine is alright to take with the rest of my medicines. I had that to happen, the doctor prescribe a medicine and it was not right with the rest of my medicine. Doctors are human and do make mistakes unfortunately. (05/23/2009)

By Teresa Kay

Save Money on Prescription Drugs

This is a post I did here several months ago. Just a note, someone posted some drugs are coming from foreign countries. Well, today that is common. No matter what pharmacy you use, there is a good chance some of the drugs you buy are manufactured in a foreign country. Just like anything else today, companies are going abroad to manufacture products because of the cheap cost of labor. Many of the big US drug companies have manufacturing plants abroad.

The HUGE benefit of using Costco's pharmacy for generic drugs is for most prescriptions, pay by cash, not your insurance! My wife's and my blood pressure medication costs $15 for a one month supply of 30 pills, for a three month supply, $30 for 90 pills using our insurance. At Costco, 100 of these pills paid by cash costs only $8.42. That is a huge savings. A few other generic prescriptions I have filled there have the same cost savings. AND, you don't even have to go to Costco to get these prescriptions filled! Just go to and click on the pharmacy link and follow the instructions for mail order delivery. You start the process online, then send in your prescription order and they mail out your prescription via mail and they pay the shipping charge! You can't beat this everything!

Another low cost way to buy generic prescriptions is at Wal Mart. They cost a bit more then Costco, but not much. The downside, they don't do mail order as Costco does. And if you don't have prescription insurance, Costco's prices for many generics is even lower! Take care, Jim in Jax (05/23/2009)

By smartfell-r

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April 26, 20090 found this helpful
By Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Save Money on Prescriptions

Even with a prescription plan, prescription medicines can be expensive. It's hard to save money on something that is controlled by insurance. Yet, there are ways to cut some costs.

Get Healthy

The best way to save on prescription plans is to stay healthy! Ask your doctor about a plan to renovate your health. Evaluate your diet and eat healthy. Exercise often, and aim to relieve stress in your life. Some health problems like high blood pressure and certain diabetes can be kept under control with strict diet and exercise plans. Be sure to consult your doctor and gain his/her approval before discontinuing any medication.

Medications are a great way to get your body back on track after an illness. Use them for their benefits, but try to heal your body so that it can operate on its own drug free. Again, have your health care plan approved by your doctor.

Mail Order Prescriptions

Many corporations and/or benefit plans offer mail order prescriptions. While these can be inconvenient during the wait for delivery, which can be a week or so, they are cheaper. They work by filling several months' worth of prescriptions at one time. This means that you will only pay your prescription co-pay once rather than three times. A three month prescription with a co-pay of $25 per month can be filled through the mail for $50 less than filling it at the pharmacy, all for the price of a few days' wait.

Medications that are prescribed for a short time period, such as antibiotics, should always be filled at a pharmacy. There won't be a savings since there are no refills required, and the wait for the mail isn't healthy. However, if a doctor prescribes a medication long term and wants you to start immediately, ask for a sample pack to get you through until the mail brings your medication.

Always Go Generic

Enough said-always go generic. Most doctors write that generic drugs are permissible; however, it's your job to be sure that they do. Check the prescription before leaving the office and ask that generic drugs be allowed. Remind your pharmacist to fill the prescriptions with generic as well.

Others in the Family?

Are there other prescriptions that you fill which aren't the typical drugs filled at pharmacies? Does your dog take flea and tick medication? Do you wear disposable contact lenses? Try having these needs filled on-line to save some money. Fido may not be as expensive when his monthly topical medications aren't filled at the vet. Keep an eye on the e-mails; some companies offer free shipping throughout the year.

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