The prices for prescription medications in the US are not fixed or regulated and can often vary widely between pharmacies, sometimes by more than $100 for the same prescription.
Also, drug prices are steadily increasing and the burden of drug costs remains high for many Americans. It is estimated that millions of patients in the US are struggling to pay for their medications and are often forced to ration their health, meaning that some patients skip treatments because of high prices.
This is, of course, a radical measure. Many patients would try to save their budget by looking for more affordable alternatives at lower cost first. Also, not only patients are looking to save the money, but their doctors as well.
There are many mobile apps that can help both patients and providers find the best drug prices, discounts, and saving coupons, compare pharmacies, and much more.
GoodRx is a company that makes such apps. We have already reviewed their GoodRx for Doctors app, which helps medical providers compare drug prices at competing pharmacies and notify their patients about coupons, discounts and saving tips.
GoodRx also made a free app for patients that is available on both Android and iOS. GoodRx app allows patients and caregivers easily compare prices across several pharmacies in their local area and provides saving coupons that can be used by patients with or without insurance.
The app's interface differs from the version for doctors, but it's still simple and straightforward. It features the search field that users can utilize to search for drugs by name or by the condition. You can start typing the name of the drug and let the autocomplete populate the list as you type.
Other options to search for drugs is by browsing popular drugs in the Top 20 list, or medical conditions listed alphabetically. Each condition is briefly explained, as well as the type of medications used to treat it. Also, the app provides detailed information for each medication listed, including dosing, precautions, drug interactions, side effects, commonly used brand names, and so on.
Once a specific medication is selected, users would be allowed to configure their prescription by choosing generic or brand name, editing dosage and quantity, and set your location, by entering your zip code manually or letting the app to access your phone GPS.
When all is set, users can tap on the 'Find the lowest price' button, and the app would display a list of the nearest pharmacies to the user's location, along with the current price at those locations and payment options, including cash, coupon or membership that some pharmacies may offer/require.
If you've chosen an option to use a GoodRx coupon, tap on it and the app would display the coupon with numbers, including Member ID, RxGroup, RxBIN, and RxPCN. Simply show this coupon to your pharmacist when filling or refilling your prescription. Using the coupon doesn't mean you need to generate another one for your next visit. Coupon cards remain on file at your pharmacy and can be used for any medication you fill or refill there.
For this review, I've chosen Zantac and Lopressor and the app suggested that I should get them at Target (CVS) at the price of $579.85 for both. The price in other pharmacies was greater, varying from $7 to $22, which may look that you didn't save much. But, keep in mind that some drugs can vary widely, some even for more than $100, such as Lanoxin.
Some drugs even vary in price between two brands, for example, Zestril and Prinivil, which are both brand names for generic Lisinopril. While 30 tablets (20mg) of Prinivil cost around $60 in all nearby pharmacies, the same amount of Zestril costs around $400.
While the app provides saving tips, it won't suggest you cheaper drug alternatives. On the other hand, it can't do that, because it's not a replacement for your doctor or pharmacist's opinion. So, the best practice would be using this app only with recommendations from your medical provider. They could install GoodRx for Doctors app on their phone so they could text or email you with the information about the particular drug and its price at local pharmacies.
GoodRx app also includes Pill Identifier feature that enables users to search for medication by their color and shape. The app provides medication images with brief information about each.
Also, the app sends price and saving alerts, as well as refill reminders that can be turned on/off in the app Settings menu. Users can also set a 4-digit Passcode or TouchID to protect their prescription information.
The good thing about GoodRx app is that it doesn't require users to register an account or add any personal information in order to use the app. However, creating an account allows users to access their prescription information from the web or other devices.
As a conclusion, GoodRx app for patients doesn't differ much from its version made for medical providers, taking regarding features, usability and user experience into account. The app is a great tool for patients to find the best prices for their medications, especially knowing that many of them may not realize how the prices for the same medications may vary widely between pharmacies.
Benefit: Patient who are looking to save money on their prescription medications