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Fact Checked

Does CVS Accept Drug Discount Cards?

The global pharmaceutical market was valued at $1.2 trillion in 2018. The United States alone accounts for over 45 percent of the global pharmaceutical market. This is not totally unsurprising, as the number of neighborhood drugstores across America has increased every year to meet the demand of increasing purchases of prescription drugs. Each drugstore not only carries countless aisles of over-the-counter drugs for any kind of illness you can imagine, whether it be a cold, cough, headache, back pain, stomach trouble, or preventative care like vitamins and minerals, but most drugstores also have their own pharmacies located within them. In fact, we now see that most major grocery and general store chains have their own pharmacies. These chain-specific pharmacies carry branded and generic prescription drugs that are manufactured by drug companies. But most of them also now carry many OTC generic drugs that are manufactured by their own group. For example, when you go to buy ibuprofen from CVS Drugstores, you will find yourself looking at a choice of branded ibuprofen, like Advil (sold by Pfizer) and ibuprofen labeled as CVS brand, meaning that it is a generic form that is manufactured for selling exclusively at CVS Drugstores. Whether you reach for the Advil or the CVS brand of ibuprofen probably depends on your habits and what you are used to taking. But what you will notice is that the branded medications are more expensive than the generic forms manufactured by drugstores like CVS. We are now looking at a market that has so much choice for medication with the same active ingredient (component of the drug that has a therapeutic effect on the body). This is not only true for OTC drugs like ibuprofen in this example. Prescription drugs are also plentiful, and we find that some drugs have generic forms that make the drug more affordable for purchase. But some newer drugs that are still under patent protection, or that do not have existing generic forms yet due to another reason, can come at a very high cost. 

According to a report from 2019, the average number of prescriptions per capita written was about 12.2 in 2013.  However, the older age group of 65-79 used an estimated 27 prescriptions per year. So although according to some estimates, the average cost per person on prescription drugs is already a high figure at $1,200, this figure is significantly higher in the older population that requires more prescriptions per year. This average cost takes into account variability between health insurance plans that could help you save more on drug costs, as well variability in pharmacy-to-pharmacy costs of drugs. But finding ways to save more on prescription drugs is something that every American has thought about during some point when they are filling a prescription that is on the high end in terms of cost. And given the high number of pharmacies, you are also given the choice of where to fill your prescription and whether changing pharmacies may be the answer to saving more on your prescription drug. Often, patients like to go to the same pharmacy for filling their prescriptions since you become familiar with the process it takes to get the medication filled at that pharmacy and with the pharmacist who can answer questions about how to take your medication. So, changing pharmacies is not necessarily the answer to getting increased savings on your prescription drugs. But, for people who take more than one drug regularly for a chronic or long-term health condition, it can be a substantial financial burden for them if the cost of each drug is quite high. Even with health insurance, the cost of taking more than one prescription drug regularly can be a cause of concern for patients. So, what is a solution to saving more on prescription drugs and bringing the overall financial cost down while still going to your preferred pharmacy, like CVS?

Drug Discount Cards can help you save at CVS 

The good news is that pharmacies like CVS Drugstores do accept prescription discount cards. This means that there is a way to get additional saving on prescription drugs. If you do not have health insurance, getting a pharmacy discount card can be especially beneficial for you. 

What is a prescription drug discount card and who is eligible for one? Everyone is eligible for a drug discount card, whether or not you have health insurance. How does the discount card work? Drug discount cards offer lower prices on prescription drugs compared to the market list value. If you have health insurance, chances are that after you meet your deductible payment, you will pay less for these drugs as your insurance company covers the cost of most of the drug depending on your coverage plan and the type of prescription drug in question. However, sometimes, a prescription drug might not be covered by your insurance plan, or you might find that your coverage plan covers only a small percentage of your prescription drug. In this case, the benefits of getting a prescription discount card can get you the drug at a potentially lower price than with your health insurance. All you have to do is present the discount card at your pharmacy when purchasing the card. Many pharmacies accept drug discount cards, and CVS is one of them. 

CVS offers their own Easy Drug Discount card for use at their pharmacy. This card can be used at any CVS to help you save on prescription drugs when you bring the card with you when filling a prescription. If you primarily fill your prescription at CVS pharmacies, this card will help you save there. Another excellent alternative drug discount card that gives you more flexibility in filling your prescription at CVS and other pharmacies around the country is the drug discount card offered by USA Rx. Almost 90% of pharmacies across the country accept drug discount cards offered by USA Rx. You can save up to 75% on prescription drugs with the USA Rx card. Having the flexibility to use the drug discount card at any pharmacy gives you several advantages. If your primary pharmacy of choice is CVS, you can use the card at CVS when you go to fill your prescription. If you are traveling or on vacation out of your hometown and find that you need to fill a prescription unexpectedly, you can take the USA Rx drug discount card with you to a local pharmacy out of your hometown to avail on savings on that drug. Additionally, USA Rx allows you to compare prices of a specific prescription drugs after discount at various pharmacies so you can decide which is the best one for you to get your prescription filled at. 

Save at other pharmacies with a Drug Discount Card

Other pharmacies besides CVS that accept the discount card can be found listed on the USA Rx website. You can find the pharmacy in question by sorting alphabetically. Most common pharmacies, like Albertson’s, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Walmart, United Pharmacy, Costco, Kmart, Safeway, Giant Eagle, ShopRite Supermarkets and Meijer Inc., accept the USA Rx drug discount card. Even if the pharmacy you want to fill your prescription at is not listed here, the drug discount card may still be accepted there. You can take the card with you to find out. Importantly, if your health insurance does not cover medication, or if you do not have health insurance at the time when you need to fill a prescription, this card is right for you, as there are no conditions to getting this card. Simply sign up for the card online, print the card, and take it with you to the pharmacy to start saving on prescription drugs. 

Usually, drug discount cards cost a small fee to purchase. The USA Rx card is completely free to sign up for because USA Rx has an agreement with drug manufacturers and organizations within the pharmaceutical industry called Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). PBMs negotiate with stores within their network to get discounts on drugs for patients and in return the pharmacy will pay the PBM a small amount every time a patient uses the discount card. When you present your discount card at a pharmacy that the PBMs have an agreement with, you pay only for the discounted price of the drug including minimal fees which is a total lower price than the full retail price of the drug. 

After you get your drug discount card, make sure you do your homework before using it.  You can follow these easy steps:

  1. Compare discounted prices of the drug on a trusted website like USA Rx to find the right pharmacy 
  2. Check to make sure that the pharmacy of your choice accepts the drug discount card. 
  3. Take your discount card with you to fill your prescription
  4. Pay the discounted price 

If you follow these steps, even in the current market of high-cost prescription drugs it is not necessary to change pharmacies to help you save on your healthcare costs. Signing up for a free drug discount card online, a process that takes only a few minutes and can be done from the comfort of your home, is a good start to ease the financial burden of prescription medication costs and make obtaining your medication a worry-free process.  

Published March 28th, 2020 by Chris Riley
Fact Checked by Chris Riley

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