Prescription Drug Assistance Programs

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If you have limited income and no drug coverage

Other drug discount cards

Several companies and foundations offer drug discount cards. The cards offer the user discounts on certain brand name prescription drugs. Some offer discounts on a few generic drugs, too.

There are different limits and requirements on who can get a card. Different cards also discount different drugs. Contact the Partnership for Prescription Assistance or NeedyMeds, Inc. (see above) to find drug discount cards. One or more of them may be helpful to you, depending on which prescription drugs you take.

Some pharmacies, large and small, now offer their own drug discount cards for free. Ask your local drugstore about them.

These cards are not insurance, and they are not part of Medicare Part D. They offer limited discounts on certain drugs, which can help some people. You may also want to see the section, “If your income is low: Look into Medicaid.”

Choosing a drug discount card

Look at all the costs of the card. Some discount cards say they are free, but have yearly fees up to $100 or more. Others charge prescription shipping and handling fees that can cost you more than the discount. And some companies that say they offer free drugs charge a processing fee for each prescription. These costs can add up quickly.

Ask about shipping fees, annual fees, and processing fees before you sign up for a card. If you’re trying to save money, it’s probably best not to get a card that wants money from you. Partnership for Prescription Assistance offers a list of discount cards that are not associated with PPA, but have been checked out and meet their requirements. PPA also has more information on discount drug cards that might help you pick a better card.

You may find a drug discount card with the name of your city or county on it. These cards give money to the city or county each time you use it to fill a prescription. Sometimes the card can save you money, but other times using it can end up costing you. The card may not always give you the cheapest price. Always ask if you’re getting the cheapest price for the drug before you commit to using any card to fill a prescription. Also keep in mind that some drug discount cards collect your information and might use it to try to sell you other products. Read the fine print before you sign up for a card.

Always compare the cost of the medicines no matter which card you use. Find out if the medicines you take are discounted. If you have more than one card, your pharmacist can often tell you the cheapest way to get your medicine. Also see the section, “Tips to save money on prescription drugs.”

Store-based drug discount programs

Some large drugstores, grocery stores, and discount chains offer certain generic prescriptions at very low rates. You may need to call around to a number of places to find the cheapest source for your medicine. Again, you’ll need to know the exact name of the drug and how to spell it, how much of the drug you take in each dose, and the number of doses you need in a month’s supply.


Last Medical Review: 10/28/2014
Last Revised: 11/13/2014