May 14, 2021

Online prescriptions


This week, Amazon officially announced that it has a new search tool to make shopping for your prescription drugs a little easier via Amazon Prime Prescription Savings Benefit.

This new search tool includes pricing of 60,000 pharmacies across the US, according to the blog post and link above. Naturally, as a pharmacist, I was curious so I took this search tool for a test drive today to check it out.

I compared 3 top prescription drug generics in the US in 2021 with Amazon Prime Prescription Savings Benefit (link in blog post above), GoodRx pricing, and the Walmart savings drugs list (formerly the $4 list). Keep in mind that I’m also in Indiana – so it depends where you live on costs and be sure to plug in your geography to these sites in order to receive accurate information and pricing – I also assumed I had no insurance – I was just paying cash.

Here’s what I found:

Amazon Walmart GoodRx Table

Some significant differences here. Or not. Is it worth your time to pay an extra few cents or dollars to have the drug delivered to your door instead of waiting in line?

Also, keep in mind that sometimes the best drug prices don’t even include your prescription insurance benefits. If that’s the case, you’ll need to ask whether or not your cash prescriptions may be applied to your deductible and out of pocket spend goals for the year or not, particularly if you’re on a high deductible health plan. My best advice as a pharmacist any time that you have a brand new prescription is to pretend you don’t have insurance and shop around for the best cash price before determining whether or not you should use your prescription insurance.

The bottom line: It is good to have choices. But just like anything – from vacation rentals to airline tickets, and now to your prescription drugs, it is also wise to shop around. The best price may not be an opportunity you have even considered in the past.

Last, as a pharmacist (and on the other hand), I also see value in keeping your prescriptions all at one pharmacy, if and when you can. If there are only pennies in difference between your shopping on a prescription drug, it is wise to keep your medications in one pharmacy so that your pharmacist can review your entire drug history and make sure you won’t have drug-drug interactions, particularly if you see multiple doctors – we call that “drug utilization review” in pharmacy circles.

Either way – happy shopping!

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