Prime Savings Means Looking Beyond Amazon’s Drug Discount Card

Written by Lucia Mueller | Posted May 16, 2021 | Updated October 18, 2021

When costs get out of hand, the natural next step of a savvy shopper involves comparing costs online. Perhaps, like many Americans, the autopilot answer to our financial woes is Amazon. Whether it’s dog food, diapers, or a swimsuit, “I must be able to find it cheaper on Amazon.” Amazon offers its customers a world of discounts and shipping expediency, but is it always the most affordable option? Certainly not. But marketing works its magic, and may the loudest ($$$) voice win. According to a recent press release touting its new prescription savings benefit, Prime members can now expect to view price comparisons at Amazon Pharmacy vs. pharmacies in their area. The new benefit yields an average savings of 78% off the cash price of generic medication and 37% off on brand medications. If you know anything about prescription drug costs in the United States, you know that it’s not outside the norm to encounter a brand drug with a $500/month price tag. So, Amazon still leaves your monthly Januvia prescription bill -- let’s say-- at a whopping $315/month. If you’re thinking these brand medication takers should just switch to the generic to cut costs, well, in the case of our type 2 diabetes drug Januvia, there isn’t one available. 

If Amazon Pharmacy can’t answer our savings prayers, then who can?

I’ll tell you: A licensed pharmacy in Canada or another foreign country. One that ships to Americans and is accredited for safety. 

You can’t knock PharmacyChecker’s U.S. pharmacy discount card either. We found that our discount card prices often outperformed Amazon on brand drugs.

The Myth of the Big Bad Canadian Online Pharmacy

According to a 2020 JAMA study, 2.3 million Americans with a valid prescription, are purchasing medication outside the United States each year. These folks are more likely to be over the age of 64 and have a bachelor’s degree. They have a lower family income or just a total lack of insurance. The study determined, as might be intuitive, that the more people are comfortable looking to the internet for health information (picture me Googling every Covid-related symptom back in March 2020), the more likely they were to purchase medication outside the U.S. (Hopefully, it is because they found PharmacyChecker information about safely ordering affordable prescription drugs.) This is a good thing. Without this type of information accessible to patients struggling with costs, again according to the study, they will skip or completely forgo taking their medication. And evidence shows they will do so even if it becomes life-threatening. Of course, it’s technically prohibited under federal law under most circumstances to “import” medicine for your own use, but it’s not something that people are prosecuted for. (That’s why millions are flocking online to do so.) This is America.

So, if you’re like many patients that see Amazon waving a flag of savings on prescription drugs only to be disappointed with the actual discounts available, I urge you to compare costs on We offer a U.S. discount card, sure, but when it comes to brand drugs, most patients we speak to are thankful for the information we provide regarding safe access to affordable drugs sold at accredited foreign pharmacies. 

Compare Amazon vs. PharmacyChecker Discounts on Brand Medication

Drug (generic name) Strength Quantity Amazon Prime Discount PharmacyChecker U.S. Discount PharmacyChecker Accredited International Pharmacy Price
Januvia (sitagliptin) 100mg 30 tablets $566.37 $497.04 $47.13
Eliquis (apixaban) 5mg 60 tablets $511.60 $492.59 $68.56
Xarelto 2.5mg 60 tablets $500.47 $492.78 $113.56
Flovent HFA Inhaler 110 mcg 1 inhaler of 12g $243.22 $268.67 $27.90
Symbicort Inhaler 80mcg - 4.5mcg 1 inhaler of 10.2 g $284.95 No local results listed. $52.77
Apoquel 3.6mg 40 tablets No results in Amazon Pharmacy. No local results listed. $110.99
Aklief 0.005% 1 Pump of 45 g $577.40 $600.03 $138.59
Entresto 24mg-26mg  60 tablets $595.11 No local results listed. $144.00
Rybelsus 14mg 30 tablets $899.93 $814.60 $283.89

Prices populated in May 2021

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Amazon offers transparency for the insured American patient

So perhaps Amazon’s Prime discount isn’t a star student in the price department, but let’s give credit where it’s due: transparency. All of the pricing we discussed above is for the uninsured or cash-paying consumer. What about those that have insurance? Well, does not list any pricing that coincides with the use of your insurance. It’s all cash pricing. As an account-holding Amazon Pharmacy customer, insured patients can see their copay price online before ordering medication. This saves insured Americans the wait time on the phone with insurance providers or the pharmacies themselves.

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Compare drug prices among reputable online pharmacies

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