It is normal for people to compare prices when they are shopping for a high-end product such as a car, jewelry, furniture or television, etc. But many do not know to compare prices when looking to purchase other essential products such as prescription drugs. The truth is that they may be paying way more than one should for their prescription drugs.
It may be because they assume the difference is too negligible to care about. The reality is – many are probably spending 80 percent more than they should. That is certainly not a negligible waste, taking into account the amount of money every household uses for prescription drugs.
But perhaps most important, many feel there is no way to know the drugs cost, i.e. there is no basis for estimating how much they should spend on their prescription drugs. However, there are many online tools for drug pricing comparison that anyone can use to determine how much they should spend, and avoid throwing money away.
With these tools, one can know not just where but also when to purchase medicine, at the comfort of the homes and without any professional assistance.
As already noted, there are quite some these tools available for different platforms. They include apps that are available in desktop formats, which means that anyone can use their personal computer at home to make informed medicine purchasing decisions. Many of them are also available on Android as well as iPhone formats. Below are some of the tools that Consumer Reports have reviewed.
Every individual would like to get the best deal out of available options, and GoodRx helps to do just that. All a person needs is to enter the details of the prescription(s) they need, and GoodRx does all the rest. In the end, it shows the pharmacies in one’s locality, particularly the ones with the prescription he/she needs, and with their prices.
GoodRx – like many other tools, too – offers convenience and efficiency. It is not only available in the desktop format, but also in Android and iPhone formats, which means a person can still get the best deals while on the move.
But for those who do not like to use apps, this service also utilizes paper cards, which the company emails out to requesting individuals. These paper cards are much like discount cards that a person can show for discounts at pharmacies and doctors’ offices, as well as veterinary offices.
In the end, GoodRx seems to be the favorite for many, and many – if not most – of the other companies seems to be looking to catch up to it.
Like GoodRx, WeRx is another online tool for drug pricing comparison that enables search by zipping code. The only downside, according to a Consumer Reports study, is that it found prices that are slightly higher than GoodRx. Also, the desktop version of the site is not as robust as that of GoodRx, and the company provides no physical discount cards.
There are, however, Android and iPhone apps that seem to be good enough. One could say that this is a poorer version of GoodRx. Regardless, Consumer Reports concluded that it worked well and gave it positive reviews.
3. Lowest Med
Much like GoodRx, Lowest Med boasts relatively robust Android and iPhone app, and desktop site. Particularly, the tool enjoys the good reputation about its app. According to Consumer Reports, the app more consistently showed prices for over-the-counter purchases and, like GoodRx found low competitive prices. On top of that, customers can quickly obtain discount cards.
However, despite the good reviews, many have complained about its ‘sort by distance’ feature, which is unlike GoodRx and WeRx’s ‘sort by zipping code’ feature. This means that Lowest Med covers a wider geographical scope, and which may, in turn, mean that a customer has to walk further to find a recommended pharmacy. Still, it is all about lowest costs and all that walking rewards the customer with more savings.
This SaberesPoder’s tool. This tool is specifically for Spanish-Speaking consumers. It is a significant advantage as there are not many non-English consumer online tools for drug pricing comparison. All one needs to do is type in the name of the drug, quantity, and the dosage and a list drops down with prices and pharmacy names.
All the tools listed above, focus on the various prices of the same prescription the consumer is looking for. Examiner is a little different. On top of showing the different prices of the same product (i.e. generic alternatives to the prescription the consumer enters), it also shows other brand-name drugs that can provide the same effect as the one the customer is searching for, and with their prices.
Moreover, on top of a price list, Examiner also lists the retail and mail-order cost of either the generic or brand-name alternatives. But this also implies the main disadvantage of this tool: Its search covers a much wider geographical scope (even wider than Lowest Med), some time to places that customers can easily access. I am the reason that the tool also provides a list of mail-order costs.
In the end, though, Examiner is a valuable tool for drug pricing comparison that can enable considerable savings. Besides, on top of price options, the tool also offers other cost-saving strategies, including pill splitting.
Every dollar should count. There is no reason to pay more for the same product and service that one can get at a lower cost. It is about savings. These tools help consumers save money.
That said, this list does not exhaust all the online tools for drug pricing comparison. There are several out there, each focusing on different aspects (Examiner, for example, is distinct from the other devices in the sense that it shows prices of brand-name alternatives rather than just the different prices of the same prescription); all with their advantages but also limitations.
It is important for an individual to find what works for them, depending on what they are looking for. For some, accessibility to a recommended pharmacy may be more important than savings, and others, the vice-versa may be true.
Still, these tools are a good place to start. GoodRx remains a favorite for Consumer Reports, and therefore for many as well. However, the ultimate choice is the consumers’.