How to Save Money on Prescription Medications, Safely —
A Consumer Guide

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Savings of over 80% are possible on both brand name and generic drugs. Below are tips from our latest Consumer Guide.

Edición en español de nuestra Guía al Consumidor.

Save Money on Brand Name Medication (See examples.)

1. Check Brand Name Prices at Canadian and Other International Online Pharmacies
The greatest potential savings on drug costs come from buying brand name medication at significantly lower prices from other countries. Savings average 80% for top brand name drugs. While it is technically illegal for Americans to import drugs through the mail, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rarely interferes as long as the supply is for three months or less and doesn't include controlled substances. To be safe, Americans should avoid any non-U.S. online pharmacy that has not been verified by an independent third-party, such as Examples of approved online pharmacies are found at — Ratings. Reputable and safe international online pharmacies require a prescription from your doctor and do not market, sell or ship controlled substances to the United States.

2. Check Brand-Name Prices at U.S. Online and Wholesale Club Pharmacies
If you purchase only from within the U.S., you can still save some money on brand name medication. and U.S. wholesale club pharmacies like often offer the lowest U.S. prices. You can compare U.S. (and non-U.S.) drug prices on nearly every prescription drug at — Prices.

Save Money on Generic Drugs (See examples.)

Many retailers offer certain generic drugs for about $4 for a 30-day supply or $10 to $12 for a 90-day supply. Examples are Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Kroger, Wegmans, Publix and Safeway. These prices are lower than those at most other U.S. pharmacies, and sometimes even lower than co-pays required by some pharmacy benefit plans. However, there are many generics not covered in these programs. If the drugs you need are not included in specific generic retail programs, researching online at, checking wholesale club pharmacies, or investigating drug programs based on need or fees are your best options.

Other Programs

Medicare Part D — Medicare enrollees may participate in Part D Prescription Drug Plans, which, similar to health insurance, require a monthly premium and usually have a deductible. provides detailed information on all plans, including drug formulary and pricing; also provides cost information and includes consumer ratings and comments, sorted by company and plan; and provides information and advocacy work for Medicare enrollees.

State Programs — 40 states offer their residents programs for accessing drugs for free or at a savings based on subsidies or discounts. Some are Medicare wrap-around programs. Websites of the National Conference of State Legislatures and provide information and links to applications for these programs.

Prescription Assistance Programs — Many large pharmaceutical manufacturers offer free or highly discounted brand name drugs to people with low incomes or with a very high percentage of income spent on prescription drugs. A listing of programs and information on access and eligibility is available on our blog at

Discount Cards — Discount cards generally provide a savings of about 5% to 15% for brand name drug prices and substantially greater discounts on generics at local pharmacies within specific networks; however, greater savings are available by shopping online.