General Question

Jeruba's avatar

Where can people without insurance go to get prescriptions filled cheaply?

Asked by Jeruba (45996points) December 26th, 2012

And where are the best pharmacy prices for people who do have insurance but need to lower their high copayments?

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20 Answers

Judi's avatar

In our town Costco has the lowest prices. Walmart has a $4 program for many drugs.
For people who use prescriptions long term they can go directly to the drug company and get free or reduced rate medications. You can find the place to apply at Partnership for Prescription Assistance. . You will need to renew that program on a regular basis or you might find yourself without medications while you re apply.
I really wish I didn’t know all that. It was hell getting that information when my son was without insurance.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Agree with Judi, Walmart (unfortunately.) If you’re really strapped, you can ask your dr for free samples, too.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Judi has given you 2 great resources. If there is a Wal Mart in your area, the $4 program is really a boon. The pharmacy there will give you a list of medicine on the program, which a patient can carry to his/her doctor. The doctor can then check to see if an alternative to name-brand medicine is available on the list. You can learn more about the $4 program here.

All large pharmaceutical manufacturers have some type of assistance program for uninsured and low-income people. These programs do have rules, and some people will slip through the cracks. I know. I slipped through the cracks of many such programs.

It’s cumbersome, but one has to fill out the paperwork for each manufacturer’s program and for each different medication. It can be worth it, though.

marinelife's avatar

Walmart has really good programs for a lot of frequently prescribed drugs. They are just $4 for a 30-day supply and $10 for a 90-day supply.

Work with your doctor if necessary. For example, I was on a 40 mg dosage of a drug, which was not available on the Walmart program so my doctor wrote the prescription for two of the 20 mg. tablets, which was on the program.

They also have a prescription drug program. I am not sure it is available in all states.

Judi's avatar

One of my son’s meds was over $1000 per month so the free prescription assistance was worth the hastle of all the paperwork.

Buttonstc's avatar

For meds not on the $4 per month list. Costco hands down lowest prices.

If there’s a Meijer near you they have free antibiotic program. Their list for those isn’t huge but a few are majorly expensive normally (like Cipro) and they have at least one of each type of antibiotic.

When i had pneumonia last year. that saved me a ton of cash as it had to be refilled a couple of times.

There are also a couple of free Android applications which basically give you a card for a prescription program and a searchable database of pharmacies which participate.

At first i wondered if it was some type of scam or something but you won’t have to pay anything and that has also saved me considerable bucks.

Just go to the Google App market and do a search and you’ll see about a half dozen or so.

bossob's avatar

+1 for Wal-Mart. They also will match prices. I actually had an assistant at the pharmacy counter tell me to say to her: “Will you match Costco’s price?” So I did, and she did. It saved me 67% on a prescription that I’ll probably be getting re-filled for the rest of my life.

laurenkem's avatar

If anyone lives near a Publix, they have a long list of medications for which there is absolutely no charge. I believe a lot of them are antibiotics, but one that I take for my blood pressure (Lisinopril) is absolutely free every month.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Walmart is the best place I’ve found with the longest list of inexpensive prescriptions. Unfortunately, the drug companies are so damned greedy, that some of the “inexpensive generics” are still $150 or more.

Seek's avatar

@laurenkem Aren’t we lucky to live in a place that has Publix? Gods, I love my Publix.

asmonet's avatar

Walmart is pretty cheap.

Sup, guys?

Jeruba's avatar

@asmonet!! I’ve missed you terribly. >>> smooches <<<

laurenkem's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr , well, there’s at least one good thing we can say about Florida! Another thing would be, of course, the weather!

although it’s cold this morning

Blueroses's avatar

Insurance companies are the devil. I have never hated them as thoroughly as I do now, working in a pharmacy and having to deal with the random refusals and raising of co-pays.

The best suggestion I have for you is to volunteer at a Catholic hospital. Volunteers are needed to greet visitors, to sit in the ICU waiting rooms with families, to bring library carts around… lots of things, really. And, trust me, you don’t have to be Catholic.

Volunteering entitles you to employee discount on drugs filled in the hospital pharmacy. You will pay a lot less for some very common drugs (often just $2 over the charity wholesale)

Jeruba's avatar

Checking back after visiting Costco for the first time: I’m really confused. I took my list of meds to the Costco pharmacist and asked them what they’d cost me there. They wrote down prices for me that ranged from $9.51 to $778.77. When I asked, essentially, WTH?, they said those are the prices without insurance; with insurance, they’d be the same copayments of $30 to $90 apiece that I’m paying now for all but the two cheapest ones.

I hate dealing with insurance companies. No matter what I do or how things turn out, I am always certain I’m being screwed. Sometimes I think I’d rather pay more just not to have to talk to them; but realistically, that’s a pretty costly luxury.

Blueroses's avatar

I got Tramadol when I broke my ankle. My insurance copay was $19. My employee discount was $2 for 60 tablets, leaving the insurance out of it entirely.

If you can’t afford your copays, you need to look for creative solutions.

And let me tell you. If you don’t take a lot of prescription drugs regularly, Medicare Part D is a complete waste of your money. The OMG “Penalty!! for not having it is quite minimal and most often much lower than your monthly premiums for Part D coverage. I’m talking $.35 on a prescription vs the $18+ per month you pay for premiums. It does not work out in your favor unless you ARE having to take many drugs.

Buttonstc's avatar

Try either of these two websites. You can get a price quote as well as a list (within the distance you specify plus your zip code) of participating pharmacies which will honor that price.

These are two of the websites associated with the Android apps I mentioned previously.

This has saved me a huge chunk of change since using them. I go to Kroger since it’s the one on the list closest to me bit I could also have my choice of at least a dozen or more within a ten mile radius.

These aren’t a scam. They cost you nothing. That’s right, ZERO cost to you.

Whichever pharmacy you choose, they will charge you the LOWEST amount between your insurance or the discount card.

So basically you’ve got nothing to lose. How much you save is totally dependent upon which medication it is and whether or not it’s available generically.

Fortunately, my doctor usually chooses generically available ones unless there’s a compelling reason to do otherwise.

But, even with genetics, I’ve saved significant amounts after using the discount cards (compared to what those same generics previously cost me without the card)

There are a bunch of these discount card websites if you Google it. But these two i have used and seem to work the most smoothly in terms of getting an accurate price quote and lots of participating pharmacy listings.

Buttonstc's avatar

The second website is the price search engine for The Helping Hand Pharmacy App.

If you don’t have an Android device, shoot me a PM and I can send you the membership numbers from the card which displays in the App. Obviously it’s the same membership numbers for everyone using the App.

There’s also an 800 number for the company and you can try that also.


I don’t recall whether you have a smartphone or tablet nor which type. Sorry :)

Blueroses's avatar

After 2 more years in the pharmacy field, I have better answers for this question.

My pharmacy has a policy of always searching the best discount cards for uninsured patients. This is not a usual practice for retail pharmacies. Here’s what you do:

1) Throw away all those “Rx discount” cards you get in the mail or in the Sunday paper. They are data collectors, invading your privacy and they charge the pharmacy to process your “discount”.

2) Go to to get a fair comparison of prices at your local pharmacies. Take the discount info to your pharmacy.

3) Ask your Pharmacy tech to try Familywize (my go-to discount for uninsured) BIN: 610194 PCN: FW, ID/Group: 12345
This card cuts most cash price prescriptions in half.
No, I definitely do not work for them. I work for a chain retailer.
But I’ll use Fmlwz on a daily basis to help my customers bring prescriptions into their affordable range.

Judi's avatar

Great info @Blueroses! Thanks!

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