Report: The Most and Least Expensive Cities for Prescription Medications

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You may already know that the price of a prescription can vary depending on which pharmacy you choose. But your city may also play a role, according to a recent report.

Prescription drug comparison site GoodRx has a list of the cities with the most and least expensive prescriptions.

Where Does It Cost the Most and Least To Fill a Prescription?

The site compiled the list from researching cash prices for 500 of the most commonly prescribed medications in 30 American cities.

Here are some key findings from the report:

  • New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are the three most expensive cities.
  • Denver, Salt Lake City and Houston are the three least expensive cities.
  • Only two cities in the Southeast — New Orleans and Atlanta — appear on either list.

Money expert Clark Howard says that price increases can happen for any number of reasons.

“Prescription price increases can result from a product shortage or a change in your insurance coverage. And in rare instances, manufacturers may raise prices because there are no competitors selling the product.”

Let’s take a look at how location plays a role in prescription drug prices. Here are the most expensive cities for drug medications, according to GoodRx.

City% Above National Average
New York, N.Y.24.0%
Los Angeles, Calif.13.7%
San Francisco, Calif.13.6%
New Orleans, La.12.3%
Milwaukee, Wis.11.2%

Let’s take a look at the least expensive cities for prescription drugs, according to GoodRx.

City% Below National Average
Denver, Colo.36.5%
Salt Lake City, Utah21.6%
Houston, Texas20.7%
Atlanta, Ga.20.0%
Dallas, Texas15.5%

Here are some ways you can save money on your prescription drugs no matter where you live.

3 Ways To Lower Your Prescription Drug Costs

1. Comparison Shop

It can’t be overstated how much it pays to comparison shop for your medications.

As Clark said earlier, drug prices can suddenly spike for many different reasons. That’s why it’s important to comparison shop.

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Resource: How To Comparison Shop Your Medications

2. Go Generic

Clark suggests showing your doctor a list of generic medications that could work as an alternative to the brand-name drug he or she may prescribe for you.

“Doctors have no idea what prescriptions cost. So a doctor will write a prescription based on what they think is the best thing for you.

“But maybe you can find something just about as good that instead of costing $100 will cost you $4. That’s a big difference!”

GoodRx is a website and app that Clark uses to find generic prescription drug prices as low as $4. Click here to find out more about GoodRx and similar prescription discount services.

Resource: How To Save Money Using GoodRx

3. Ask for the ‘Without Insurance’ Price

Sometimes, it’s actually cheaper to pay out of pocket for your medication than going through your insurance plan.

It won’t hurt to ask the pharmacist to ring up your medication with and without insurance. Clark says, if it’s cheaper without getting your insurance involved, go for it!

Looking for more ways to save? Here are 10 tips to save on prescription drugs.

More Prescription Resources From Clark.com:

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