What Happened to $4 Generics?
But we rarely hear about these programs anymore.
In recent years, many pharmacies have discontinued their programs or reduced the number of medications they include. We’ve also seen pharmacists refuse to honor the prices listed on their membership program, and some pharmacies have made it more difficult to find program information—in some cases, no longer featuring the program on their homepage. Why have these programs been discontinued?
Here’s the story.
Pharmacy membership programs, also known as prescription savings clubs, offer customers discounts on generic medications, pet medications, and other select medical supplies and devices. Most of these programs require a membership and charge a fee, but some, like Walmart’s, don’t require registration. Additionally, patients with and without insurance coverage are eligible for these programs.
A couple of years ago, prices for generic medications started to shoot up, and pharmacies began losing more money on their savings programs. CVS, a big player, opted to discontinue their savings program. After that, competing pharmacies no longer felt obliged to offer these savings, and many of them discontinued their programs or reduced the number of medications on their savings list.
It’s apparent that the landscape is changing, but luckily some pharmacies still offer savings programs. Even if you take only one generic medication, these programs may be a good way to save on your prescriptions.
Which programs are still active?
It’s not all bad news. Even though many pharmacies have discontinued their membership programs, some are still active.
- Sam’s Club: Sam’s Plus members can receive hundreds of generic medications at $4 or $10 for a 30-day supply, and five select prescriptions for free. Membership is $100 annually, and does not require prescription drug insurance. Sign up online, or enroll at your nearest Sam’s Club Pharmacy.
- Walgreens: The Walgreens Prescriptions Savings Club is the most robust discount program on the market at the moment. Members can get over 50 medications for as little as $5 for up to a 30-day supply, and can also receive discounts on vitamins, birth control, diabetic supplies, and lifestyle medications. Annual membership is $20 for individuals or $35 for families. Sign up online or enroll at your nearest Walgreens Pharmacy.
- Rite Aid: The Rite Aid Rx Savings Program offers a selection of generic medications at $9.99 for a 30-day supply and $15.99 for a 90-day supply. Membership is free, but required. Enroll at your nearest Rite Aid Pharmacy.
- Walmart: Walmart offers a selection of generic medications at $4 for a 30-day supply and $10 for a 90-day supply. They also provide home delivery and discounts on oral contraceptives and men’s health medications. No membership is required for this program.
- Price Chopper: The Price Chopper RxAdvantEdge Program offers select generic drugs at $9.99 for 100 tablets, as well as savings on allergy medications, antibiotics, and vitamins. Membership is free, but required. Enroll at your nearest Price Chopper Pharmacy.
- Winn-Dixie: The Winn-Dixie Perks Program offers a selection of generic drugs at $4 for a 30-day supply and $10 for a 90-day supply, as well as select antibiotics for free. Membership is $5 annually per person. Sign up online or enroll at your nearest Winn-Dixie Pharmacy.
- H-E-B: The H-E-B Rewards Platinum Program offers select generic medications at $4, $8, or $12 for a 30-day supply. There is no membership fee. Enroll at your nearest H-E-B Pharmacy.
- Publix: Publix’s “Next Best Thing To Free” Program offers a 90-day supply for select generic medications for only $7.50. Publix also has a free medication program for select blood pressure medications, diabetes medications, and antibiotics. No membership is required for this program.
- HyVee: The HyVee $4 Generics Program offers select generic drugs at $4 for a 30-day supply and $10 for a 90-day supply. No membership is required for this program.
Other ways to save
Here are some other options to keep in mind:
- Shop around. Prices at many pharmacies are constantly changing, and there are always new opportunities for you to save. Prescription prices can also vary widely from one pharmacy to the next, so it pays to shop around.
- Use a GoodRx coupon. On average, GoodRx users save an average of 62% off the retail price of prescription drugs. In some cases, GoodRx can even beat your copay.
- Use a manufacturer discount. Manufacturers often offer options for patients to save on their prescriptions, or even access a prescription for free. Search for your drug on GoodRx.com and click on “Savings Tips” to find copay cards, assistance programs, and other ways to reduce your cost.
- Fill a 90-day supply. If you’re taking a medication for a chronic condition, filling more at one time can help keep your costs down, whether you’re filling at a retail pharmacy or through your insurance company’s mail order service.
- Start a conversation with your doctor or pharmacist. If you’re having trouble affording your prescription, let your healthcare provider know so you can work together to find an alternative that works for you.
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