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How to Find the Cheapest Pharmacy to Fill Prescriptions

Written and medically reviewed by Dorcas Morak, Pharm.D

Getting your medications from your favorite pharmacy is great, but what's more important is where you can get your medications for the best price. You might be shocked to find your favorite pharmacy potentially charging hundreds more than a competing pharmacy down the street. Drastic price variations between pharmacies were confirmed by a study that found that large pharmacies charge between 8 and 840 percent more than small, independent pharmacies. By the time you finish reading this post, you will have learned how to find the cheapest pharmacies near you to fill your prescriptions.

Why do prices differ for the same drug at different pharmacies?

There are many factors responsible for the significant price difference from one pharmacy to another. The following can cause large price variations:

  • Each Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) negotiates their own drug prices between the pharmacy and the drug manufacturers, resulting in different prices for the consumer.
  • Generic drugs are supplied by a variety of suppliers. Some pharmacies are able to get them cheaper, which is reflected in the final price.

How are patients affected by these varying prices? 

About 25% of Americans struggle to afford their medications. The prohibitive cost of medications forces patients to make difficult decisions that may adversely affect their health, such as:

  • Patients may choose not to pick up their prescriptions.
  • Patients may ration medications by skipping doses or cutting doses in half to make the drug last longer. This underdose practice can harm their therapeutic outcomes.

The decision to skip or reduce doses or not fill prescriptions reduces adherence, which can worsen a person’s chronic conditions and make it more challenging for their healthcare provider to render quality care. These struggles erode patients' trust in the health sector, and can lead them to assume their provider is taking advantage instead of helping them get better.

How can I find the cheapest pharmacies in my neighborhood?

Getting your medications from the cheapest pharmacy can save you $102 - $5,400 a year. Use the following methods to find the cheapest pharmacies near you and save on the cost of your medications:

  • Prescription Savings Card: rxless discount coupon may be your best option to save money. For example, you can save as much as 88% on your medications whether you have insurance or not. Our savings card is accepted in most pharmacies, including CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens.
  • Comparison Shopping: Use the rxless search tool before you buy your medications and make it a habit to always check the rxless price prior to heading to the pharmacy.
  • Shopping Local: A study shows that large chain pharmacies tend to charge more than small independent pharmacies.
  • Drug Manufacturer Rebates: Many drug manufacturers offer rebates on their website which you can use to offset the cost of your drugs at the pharmacy.
  • Considering Generics: According to the FDA, generic drugs can cost as much as 80 to 85 percent less than branded ones. Ask your doctor to switch your drugs to generic, if possible. However, if you must take the brand-name medication, you can enjoy a significant price reduction with an rxless savings card.