How to Find Prescription Drug Discounts

Medically Reviewed By Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI

Many people in the United States with limited or no health insurance can save money on prescription medications. You may find prescription drug discounts by buying generic drugs instead of name-brand, using prescription discount cards, or using other programs. This article discusses some of the ways to find prescription drug discounts.

The content in this article is meant to provide information about available options and does not imply an endorsement of any specific product.

Generic drugs vs. name brands

An assortment of prescription pills set against a blue background
Kate Ili/Stocksy United

Many people may be able to save money by getting generic versions of name-brand medications.

A 2022 report released by the Congressional Budget Office stated that slower growth in spending on prescription drugs could be explained by the increased prevalence of generic drugs. The report also noted that generic drugs generally cost much less than brand-name drugs.

Talk with your doctor about getting the generic version of your prescription medication instead of the name-brand drug.

Medicare and Medicaid

Government programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, have ways to help people save money on their prescription drugs.

For example, depending on the plan you choose, Medicare offers assistance for people who need help paying for prescription medications, like insulin. A 2022 report from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation also noted that part of the Inflation Reduction Act was designed to slow the increase of drug prices for people with Medicare Part D.

Similarly, if you qualify for Medicaid, you may pay lower prices for your prescription due to Medicaid’s drug rebate program. This program is designed to offset the costs of outpatient prescription drugs for Medicaid, which can translate to lower costs for people with Medicaid.

Prescription discount cards

Prescription discount cards may be another option for people who don’t have health insurance or whose insurance doesn’t cover their medications. These cards are free to use, and many pharmacies across the U.S. accept them.

Below are a few examples of companies that offer prescription discount cards:

  • GoodRx: The GoodRx card is free to sign up for, and more than 70,000 pharmacies in the U.S. accept it.
  • RxSaver: The RxSaver card is free to sign up for and provides discounts on many medications at all major pharmacies.
  • Healthgrades Rx: Through our partnership with Optum Perks, you can get a Healthgrades Rx card, a free card accepted by more than 64,000 U.S. pharmacies.
  • ScriptSave WellRx: The ScriptSave WellRx card is free to sign up for and provides discounts at more than 65,000 U.S. pharmacies.
  • SingleCare: The SingleCare card is free to sign up for, and many major U.S. pharmacies accept it.

Nonprofit organizations

Certain nonprofit organizations offer programs that can help people find ways to save money on their prescription medications. These organizations include:

  • Patient Assistance: Patient Assistance is a database of coupons and programs for people who need help paying for their medications.
  • NeedyMeds: NeedyMeds is a nonprofit that helps people find programs to lower their healthcare and medication costs. They also provide their own discount prescription card.
  • RxAssist: RxAssist is another database where people who need help with prescription costs can find discount programs. It also provides resources for doctors who want to help people find low cost medications or medications without a cost.
  • RxHope: RxHope is a site that helps people apply for prescription discount programs.

Pharmaceutical companies

Certain pharmaceutical companies offer programs to help people afford their medications. These companies include:

  • Johnson & Johnson: The Johnson & Johnson Patient Assistance Foundation donates some prescription medications to eligible people.
  • Novartis: Novartis offers programs to help eligible people pay for their prescription drugs by assisting with things like copays.
  • Pfizer: Pfizer has a few programs that donate medications to eligible people or help people lower their costs on Pfizer products.
  • Eli Lilly: The Lilly Cares Foundation helps eligible people receive their Eli Lilly medications free of charge.

Summary

People with no health insurance or insurance that doesn’t cover their medications may be able to lower their costs. Generic drugs, government programs, prescription discount cards, nonprofit organizations, and pharmaceutical company programs may be options for people who need help paying for their prescriptions.

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  1. Bosworth, A., et al. (2022). Price increases for prescription drugs, 2016-2022 [Abstract]. https://aspe.hhs.gov/reports/prescription-drug-price-increases
  2. Costs for Medicare drug coverage. (n.d.) https://www.medicare.gov/drug-coverage-part-d/costs-for-medicare-drug-coverage
  3. Medicaid drug rebate program (MDRP). (2022). https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/prescription-drugs/medicaid-drug-rebate-program/index.html
  4. Prescription drugs: Spending, use, and prices. (2022). https://www.cbo.gov/publication/57772

Medical Reviewer: Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI
Last Review Date: 2022 Dec 20
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