Published October 29th, 2019 by Stephanie
American ever completely escapes the need for medicine, but some are more fortunate than others in just how much of an impact medicine can have on finances. A comparatively healthy American will, by and large, only need affordable medicine regularly, such as off-the-shelf cold medicine, or digestive aids. In the event of an illness, or surgery, more expensive prescription medicine may be required, but it’s only a temporary expense, and, after recovery, that expenditure comes to an end.
But then there are some Americans for whom expensive medicine becomes a lifelong financial commitment. A family that has a child diagnosed with diabetes must now ensure they can pay for that child’s insulin, as well as make sure the child grows up to have a job that affords enough financial independence to one day be able to afford that insulin supply for the remainder of adulthood.
For some, this financial consideration isn’t a factor at all, due to the good fortune of having worked hard to become wealthy or being born into a wealthy family. Others manage to get jobs where health benefits are offered, or the jobs pay well enough that comprehensive medical insurance is affordable. Unfortunately, not everyone can rely on these safety nets, but there are still options available to reduce spending, even for those who don’t.
One alternative is to use a compare Rx prices app. But what is this, and how does it work? First, let’s get a better look at the way medicine is priced.
Pricing in the USA is unregulated when it comes to pharmacies. While this might seem normal in America, not every country follows this same policy of letting companies charge whatever they want. Our neighbors to the north, Canada, as one example, have laws in place the enforce affordability for medicine. No Canadian pharmacist is allowed to charge outrageous pricing on medicine, which is why insulin is only $30 in that country. That’s also the reason why Americans near the Canadian border drive over Canadian insulin, since the same amount, quality and formulation is $300 in the USA.
Because no regulations require pharmacies to make sure prices are accessible, pharmacies can, without any limit or judgment, price their medication at whatever they like. This means that well-off neighborhoods, populated by the upper class, pharmacies there can charge 300-500% more for medicine. They know the residents value their time more than their money and will pay these dramatically higher prices if it means avoiding a longer trip to a cheaper pharmacy.
However, on the opposite end of the spectrum, this also means that other pharmacies in other areas can charge lower prices. If a pharmacist that’s grown up in a lower-income area has strong ties to the community there, for example, this may cause that pharmacist to sell medication at prices 25% lower—or more—than the suggested price to help out that community.
In other words, the location of a pharmacy can have a huge effect on what the pricing of medication will be in that pharmacy.
The most effective way to get good prices on medication is to comparison shop. In the past, this meant a lot of work, either visiting pharmacies to get their pricing and compiling a list, doing the same thing via a phone to speed things up with a survey and list, or, in the digital age, seeing if a pharmacy had a website with listings for the medication you were interested in.
Now, however, software like a compare Rx prices app can do all this time-consuming data gathering and centralize it for you. Smartphones have an online connection and are now powerful enough that software like a price comparison app is feasible to carry on these handheld computers. There are different apps, but they all work on a similar central concept of having a database with a listing of numerous pharmacies the prices they charge for their medication.
All you have to do to use these apps are put in the parameters most relevant to you, like the medication you’re interested in, and the search radius you’re willing to go to to find better pricing. This way, you can find out what the lowest prices are within five, 20, or even 50 miles around you, depending on how far you’re willing to go.
However, it’s recommended that if you want to take advantage of what a compare Rx prices app can do for you, you should try out more than one. No price comparison app is complete when it comes to listing all the pharmacies, so while there might be a lot of overlap with the major retailers, such as Walgreens, there may be smaller, independent pharmacies that one app will list, but another one won’t. Using multiple apps is your best way to ensure that you see as many of the nearby available price options as possible.
In addition to getting lower prices from pharmacies themselves, there are more ways to save. If you go to the USA Rx website, you can get a nationwide discount card that is valid in all 50 states, with discounts ranging from 10-75% off on a huge variety of medications. That card is recognized at over 60000 different outlets, from the large retailers like Walmart and Target to smaller, independent pharmacies that may be closer to where you live.
Now, however, USA Rx can provide even more savings with a mobile app that can add to the arsenal of price comparison software people use to get better pricing. This app was just released on September 11 to help people shop even smarter when it comes to looking for good prices on their prescription medication.
So if you need prescription medication but don’t have the benefit of wealth or insurance to make the expense easier, try using a compare Rx prices app and pair that with a discount card. It can make a big difference in just how much you save on your much-needed medication.