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How to Save Money on Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs can be one of the highest expenses in any household. If you suffer from a chronic disorder or serious health condition, you may need to take medication on a regular basis. Considering the high sticker price of some of these pills, it’s no wonder you’re feeling the hit after months of regular trips to the pharmacy!

Here are some ways to save money on prescription drugs, as well as some advice on things to avoid doing:


  • Split higher-dose pills – Pill splitting is a common practice, one that can help you to save big if you take lower doses of medication. Let’s say you pay $10 for an 8-pack of 200 mg pills. The cost of an 8-pack of 400 mg pills will only run you $12 to $15, so if you buy the larger pills and split them, you get the same dose at a much lower price. Not all pills can be split, so make sure to talk to your doctor before you try splitting your medication.
  • Consider generic drugs -- Yes, the fancy brand name drugs may seem like the better option, but are they really? It’s estimated that roughly 80% of the FDA-approved drugs in the country have a generic option that is far cheaper–up to 25% of the price! Generic drugs may not come out for the first six months after a new drug is released, but if you’re taking a medication that has been around for a while, you can save big by shopping generic.
  • Ask your doctor -- Your doctor may have no idea how much you’re paying for the medication they are prescribing. If you talk to your doctor, you may be able to explain about the high cost of the medication, and they will usually be more than happy to prescribe a cheaper option. Unless you need a very specific medication, it shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Consider patient assistance programs -- There are roughly 6,000 programs in the country designed to help people with limited resources to afford high-cost drugs. You can find information on a lot of these programs via NeedyMeds, and you’ll be able to save big while still getting the medication you need.
  • Shop around -- Not all pharmacies charge the same price for the various medications. Find pharmacies that offer the lowest prices on the medications you need, and don’t hesitate to let the pharmacy know that their competitor next door or across town charges lower prices. In the end, the pharmacy will want to keep your business, so they will often be willing to drop the price to match the competition.


  • Use someone else’s drugs – This should go without saying, but don’t raid a friend’s medicine cabinet to find the medication you need (unless in an emergency). The drugs may be past their expiration date, may interact negatively with another drug you’re taking, or may be the wrong dosage.
  • Go herbal -- Yes, herbal and natural is all the rage these days, but they are nowhere near as effective as the drugs and medications designed specifically to treat whatever health condition you’re dealing with.
  • Insist on brand name -- Brand name medications are pricey, and the chance of finding a deep discount on the top name brand medications is slim to none. If you want to go cheap, stay away from the big brand names.
  • Buy online -- There are many pharmacies that will sell online, but there is a much higher risk of your buying from a “rogue” pharmacy–essentially an illegal retailer that sells counterfeit drugs. Always buy in person, and always from a pharmacy you can trust!

Follow these tips, and you can save big while still getting the medications you need to deal with your health problem or condition. 

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