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The easiest way to save on prescription drugs

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The easiest way to save on prescription drugs
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All year long, Clark.com’s Michael Timmermann is sharing quick and easy ways to save money as part of our Michael Saves series. Check in every Monday as he puts new and familiar savings strategies to the test. Sign up for our newsletter to have these stories delivered to your inbox! 

Prescription drug prices have skyrocketed to the point where studies have found that nearly a third of patients don’t get their first-time prescriptions filled because they just can’t afford them.

But what you may not realize is that you can save a lot of money just by shopping around using your smartphone.

Price comparison: GoodRx vs. LowestMed

Read more: How I save 75% on prescription drugs

Free apps like GoodRx and LowestMed are popular because you can easily search nearby pharmacies for discounts and coupons that you didn’t know existed.

In some cases, the apps find prices that are even lower than your insurance co-pay — or sometimes free!

We wanted to see the difference between these two apps — which are both very easy to use — so we decided to compare the prices of some of America’s most prescribed drugs, choosing generics when possible.

  • Synthroid (levothyroxine)
  • Crestor (rosuvastatin)
  • Ventolin HFA (albuterol)
  • Nexium (esomeprazole)
  • Advair Diskus (fluticasone)
  • Lantus Solostar (insulin glargine)
  • Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)
  • Lyrica (pregabalin)
  • Spiriva Handihaler (tiotropium)
  • Januvia (sitagliptin)

The makers of these apps say prices vary significantly from drugstore to drugstore, especially with generics. Sometimes the apps have different prices for the same drug — at the same pharmacy!

Here are some additional side-by-side comparisons, with LowestMed on the left and GoodRx on the right:

Amoxicillin, 30 capsules of 500mg

  • LowestMed: $4.00 (Walmart)

  • GoodRx: Free (Publix)

Amoxicillin, 30 capsules of 500mg

Atorvastatin (generic Lipitor), 30 tablets of 20mg

  • LowestMed: $9.13 (Kroger)

  • GoodRx: $12.20 (Kroger)

Atorvastatin (generic Lipitor), 30 tablets of 20mg

Finasteride (generic Propecia), 30 tablets of 1mg

  • LowestMed: $13.09 (Kroger)

  • GoodRx: $12.91 (Kroger)

Finasteride (generic Propecia), 30 tablets of 1mg

Omeprazole (generic Prilosec), 30 capsules of 20mg

  • LowestMed: $8.75 (Kroger)

  • GoodRx: $4.00 (Kroger)

Omeprazole (generic Prilosec), 30 capsules of 20mg

Zolpidem (generic Ambien), 30 tablets of 10mg

  • LowestMed: $6.97 (Kroger)

  • GoodRx: $10.00 (Kroger)

Zolpidem (generic Ambien)30 tablets of 10mg

Hydroquinone, 1 tube of 4% cream

  • LowestMed: $32.73 (Walmart)

  • GoodRx: $33.66 (Walmart)

Hydroquinone, 1 tube of 4% cream

Venlafaxine ER, 30 capsules of 75mg

  • LowestMed: $10.43 (Kroger)

  • GoodRx: $11.93 (Kroger)

Venlafaxine ER, 30 capsules of 75mg

Bottom line: Download both apps to save money!

I’ve used both GoodRx and LowestMed. After finding the lowest price through the apps, all you have to do is show the pharmacist the coupon on your smartphone to get the discount.

Prices on these apps do change frequently, so I suggest that you download both apps and check them before every fill.

In fact, even before you leave your doctor’s office, you can pull out your phone and search for the lowest price using these tools to see if you can afford your new script.

Check out more from our Michael Saves series:

What you need to know about Social Security

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Mike Timmermann About the author:
Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.
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