Apps Could Mean Cheaper Prescription Drugs at Your Fingertips

ABC News' Paula Faris reports:

After last week's "Real Money" piece on saving thousands on prescription drugs, many viewers inquired about how easy it was to use the money-saving apps suggested by expert Michelle Katz.

So, Katz, a health care advocate, joined up with the ABC News team again and Doug Hirsch, the CEO of the popular app GoodRx.

Image credit: GoodRx

Want to learn how to slash those prescription drug bills? Join Katz in a Twitter chat at 7 p.m. ET today. Check it out here: @michellekatzmsn #RealMoney or www.facebook.com/healthcareforless

Here's how the app works: Type in the drug and your location and the app will look for coupons as well as the best price for the drug in your area. Download the coupons to your smartphone or print them out from the GoodRx website.

GoodRx.com also provides the pharmacy's number and gives directions on how to get there. The app also alerts consumers when a prescription drug loses its patent, which occurs after 12 years. In the next 18 months, popular drugs Nexium, Celebrex and Symbicort will all go generic.

Using the GoodRx app, the "Real Money" team found that in the Santa Monica area, where California retiree Lynda Bezdek lives, prices ranged from nearly $15 to almost $150 for a 30-day supply of 40 mg of the generic brand of Lipitor.

"It's shocking," Bezdek said.

The "Real Money" team learned that medication prices depended on numerous variables, such as a pharmacy's contract with each drug supplier, discounts and coupons.

Although the Food and Drug Administration monitors the products, Hirsch said the agency does not regulate price, so consumers have to pay whatever the pharmacy charges - at times a 20 percent to 80 percent price difference for the same drug.

Thanks to GoodRx, though, Bezdek was able to cut her prescription bills in half, saving $2,280 on her medication.

"I am not tech savvy and I think this [the app] is very easy to use," she said. "That's real money."

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