Drug prices sometimes vary significantly between pharmacies, even between those in the same ZIP code. But why are they such a mystery?

Manufacturing is often relatively inexpensive, but the research and marketing costs for pharmaceuticals often push up the cost of branded drugs.

Patients paying cash
Paying cash for prescriptions is the only option for many Americans who don’t have insurance, or whose cover does not stretch to medication. RxSpark brings together thousands of offers to help keep your medical outgoings low, whether you self-pay for all treatment or do not have cover for prescriptions and medication.

Patients with insurance
Drug prices for insured patients depend on a number of factors.

  • Insurance companies negotiate prices that are typically lower than the cash price at pharmacies.

  • Prices are also dependent on whether a prescribed drug is covered in insurance company’s list of approved drugs (the formulary).

  • Insurance often requires patients to meet a deductible before paying out for prescriptions. With deductibles on the rise, paying cash with a voucher to get a cheaper generic drug may be a much cheaper option.

  • Prescription cover varies according to the tier of the drug. Different tiers require different co-pays, making it hard to predict the final cost of medication.

Patients with Medicare
Medicare affects drug prices in a similar way to insurance. The main difference is the government regulates prices and covers some of the costs of medication.

For more information on Medicare, visit https://www.medicare.gov/

Did this answer your question?