10 Top Tips for How to Save Money on Prescriptions

Posted February 11, 2020 by in Health + Fitness
prescription drugs on table

In 2019, health care professionals filled an estimated 4.38 billion prescriptionsMoreover, experts said that prescription drug spending would total $370 billion in 2019. By 2023, this will go up to a staggering $420 billion.

All these show how difficult it is to become healthy in the US. This, however, doesn’t mean that you should just accept it. There are many ways to save money on prescriptions without skipping your medications.

Ready to beat the ever-increasing prices of prescription drugs in the US? Then keep reading, as we’ll let you in on the secrets of how to save money on prescription drugs:

How to Save Money on Prescriptions

  1. Go Generic

Switching to generic drugs is one of the best ways on how to save on prescriptions. For starters, generics can save you up to 85% of what you pay for your branded medications. In fact, generics helped US residents save as much as $293 billion in 2018.

Don’t worry about generic medications not being as effective as their branded counterparts. These drugs go through rigorous testing before the public can even buy and use them.

The reason that they’re cheaper than the branded ones is that they’re modeled from the latter. This means that generic drug makers don’t have to spend money on developing a “new” drug.

That said, talk to your doctor about your generic prescription drug options. Depending on your condition, there may be an alternative to the branded drug you’re taking.

  1. Ask Your Doctor If You Can At Least Take a Lower-Cost Branded Substitute

Switching brands is another lesser-known technique on how to save money on prescriptions. This is usually the second option if a generic prescription drug isn’t available.

Again, generic drugs should be your first alternative to save on prescriptions. However, some generics may contain an inactive ingredient that may trigger allergies. It’s also possible for their other ingredients to interact with other medications.

These adverse reactions don’t happen often, but they still do. That said, your doctor may need you to stay on a branded drug. In this case, you should ask your doctor if you can at least take a lower-priced alternative.

  1. Feel Free to Ask Your Doctors for Samples

Drugmakers give doctors free product samples as part of their marketing tactics. Doctors, in turn, can give these away to their patients for free. Many of these freebies are prescription medications.

So, the next time you visit your physician, don’t be shy — ask about these free samples. However, you should stick to samples of generics or low-cost medications. This way, you can avoid the pitfall of having to rely on expensive branded drugs in the future.

  1. Sign Up for a Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Patient Assistance Program (PAP)

PAPs are programs most often provided or backed by pharmaceutical companies. There are also some states and non-profit organizations that offer these programs.

These are programs that offer low-cost or free medicines to people who can’t afford them. In fact, most of these programs are for people who lack insurance or have no health insurance at all. In 2018, there were 48.6 million people who were either underinsured or not insured.

Note, however, that each PAP has its own requirements, such as income eligibility. They also have different “rules” on how an applicant can prove eligibility. Most, however, set a cap or a limit on how many “free” medications you can get.

Still, if you’re having trouble buying your meds, you may want to look into an applicable PAP. Ask your doctor if the manufacturer of your prescriptions offer such programs. They may be able to help you sign up and qualify for the program.

  1. Order Your Medications Online

Buying from a licensed online pharmacy is also a great way to save on prescriptions. It’s also convenient, as you can order your medications online and have them shipped to your home. Since you don’t have to travel to your brick-and-mortar pharmacy, you get to save on gas money too.

Just make sure that the pharmacy has a license and a physical address. Legitimate online pharmacies also always require a copy of your prescription.

  1. Buy in Bulk

Both brick-and-mortar and online pharmacies offer discounts when you buy in bulk. You can save on drugs if you purchase one month’s supply rather than just a week’s worth of meds. Some pharmacies even give bigger discounts if you buy 90 days’ worth of prescriptions!

  1. Print Out or Apply Those Coupons

A study found that drug coupon users have 35% lower monthly out-of-pocket costs than non-users. Those who used prescription coupons shelled out only $9.7. Those who didn’t use any coupons had out-of-pocket costs amounting to $15.1.

A $5.4 saving seems small, but it will pile up over time. In one year, that already represents a $65 saving! Moreover, those figures only represent a single prescription drug.

So, imagine just how much more you can save if you use as many coupons as possible. This is especially helpful if you rely on more than one prescription medication.

  1. Always Compare Drug Prices

There are websites and apps that can help you compare drug prices and even find discounts. These platforms also have links to discount coupons that you can use at most pharmacies. Take advantage of these tools so you can start saving on prescriptions!

  1. Cash-Based Payments May Be Cheaper than Insured Prices

You may think that you’re saving money because of your coverage, but you may actually be paying more! In fact, a study found that insured prescriptions can cost more than if you paid in cash.

That said, always review your health coverage and then list down the prices of covered drugs. Compare these with how much your local pharmacy will charge you if you pay cash. You may end up saving more if you skip insurance.

  1. Use the Right Credit Card

A few credit cards have cashback rewards that you gain through drug purchases. One example is the Amazon Prime Rewards card, which gives you a 2% cashback at drugstores. While this technically isn’t a “discount”, it can still save you money when you buy your medicines.


There you have it, the top strategies you should use to save money on prescriptions. The more of these techniques you use, the greater the savings you can get. The lower your drug costs are, the more likely you are to adhere to your medications.

Remember, patient adherence is key to making the most out of your medications. So, as early as now, you’d want to make your prescriptions more affordable. This way, you can forget about thinking of skipping your meds. 

Ready for more cheatsheets like this to get your health back in check? Then check out the rest of the posts we have under the Health & Fitness section