Three Tips to Save Big on Prescription Drugs

PHOTO: Did you ever try to negotiate the cost of your prescription drugs? Here are tips for saving on your medications.PlayGetty Images
WATCH Prescription Drugs Don't Have to Bust Your Budget

Denise Nolan is a mother of three, a small business owner and a rheumatoid arthritis patient who takes daily medication.

The Nebraska resident was diagnosed two years ago and takes the same anti-inflammatory drugs every day, but last month, the price of her prescription skyrocketed.

Nolan says her drug, hydroxycholroquine, used to cost her about $205 for a three-month supply. Then it skyrocketed to more than $500.

“I just about fainted. The price jump was ridiculous,” she said.

Like millions of Americans, Nolan and her family don’t have insurance for prescription drugs. She now spends $2,208 per year at the pharmacy.

“GMA” on the Money brought on Lisa Gill, a prescription drug expert from Consumer Reports magazine. Gill talked with Nolan to see whether she could help the woman lower her prescription drug bill.

The Tips

Tip 1. Gill advised Nolan to shop around, including at discount warehouses such as Costco or BJ’s. People don’t have to be members to shop there and they offer some of the lowest prices, Gill said.

By shopping at Costco, the Nolan family saved up to $184 for a three-month supply. Nolan and her husband, Tony, were thrilled.

“That’s awesome!” she said.

Tip 2. Gill advised the family to try prescription apps such as GoodRx or LowestMeds. GoodRx compares prescription drug prices in local pharmacies if users input the drug name and zip code.

Using GoodRx, the Nolans were able to find Denise’s prescription for $293 less than at her current pharmacy.

“That’s almost half,” Tony said.

Tip 3. Gill advised that people try to negotiate.

She called four independent pharmacies in the area, and, after a big of haggling, found one local pharmacy that was willing to offer Denise’s prescription for just $130 for a 90-day supply.

Denise called that “crazy amazing,” adding: “You don’t think that you can bargain shop for medication. That’s, like, for cars!”

Using these strategies, Gill helped save the Nolans $1,688 a year.