Whether it’s for a one-time incident or an ongoing condition, the cost of prescription medication is often high, even for insured patients. The average American spends roughly $1,200 per year on prescriptions, which is more than average spending elsewhere in the world largely because of higher prices.
What many patients don’t know is that pharmacy pricing varies widely. Having the ability to price shop before choosing a pharmacy can potentially save them hundreds of dollars. GoodRx is a free app that aims to reduce the cost of your prescriptions by as much as 80% through their coupon system and huge pharmacy database. Think of it like GasBuddy for medications, including prescriptions for your pet.
How helpful is GoodRx in lowering pharmaceutical costs? Our team tested the service and we’ll share all the details on GoodRx’s convenience, pricing, and user options.
- Helps you save up to 80% on your medications by comparing prices between pharmacies
- Offers discounts and coupons to get you the best deal
- Free to use, although there is a paid membership option
- Some insurance companies may reimburse the cost of medicines or consider them credit towards your deductibles
- Works for some pet medications, too
- Available on iOS and Android as well as laptops
- Ranked #1 among medical apps on the App Store
- Information on GoodRx is sometimes out of date
- GoodRx doesn’t work with insurance, so your payments may not count towards your deductibles
- You need a doctor’s prescription to use discounts and coupons for over-the-counter medications
- GoodRx’s method of displaying discounted prices can make it harder to compare prices between pharmacies
Overall, GoodRx provides a valuable experience that we can recommend. It’s easy to see why GoodRx scores so highly on both the App Store and Google Play with a multitude of happy customers. It is free and fairly user-friendly. However, it isn’t perfect. Our chief complaints are that it turns out some pharmacies will not accept the coupons and some information on the app is outdated. If you take that in stride, though, GoodRx can save you a fair bit of money.
- Why you should trust us
- What does GoodRx do?
- Medication price comparison
- Discounts and coupons
- A few insider tips about prescriptions
- GoodRx Gold membership
- Telemedicine and lab marketplaces
- Getting started with GoodRx
- Privacy considerations
- HSA, FSA, and health insurance
- How we evaluate health services and products
Innerbody Research recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary online. Over the past two decades, we have helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions involving staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.
We extensively test each health service we review. We try our best to give you, our readers, an unbiased exploration of at-home health services, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate the service based on our adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?
Additionally, this review of GoodRx, like all health-related content on this website, was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
GoodRx cuts through the confusion of finding the best drug prices by presenting customers with a list of discounted options based on location. They feature a website as well as apps for both iOS and Android. After entering your medication and location, you’re immediately presented with price comparison information. Most of the displayed prices relate to the use of coupons or discounts, which are available for free at the click of a button without inputting any further information.
GoodRx offers several services in addition to its free pricing guide and coupons. Services include the following:
- Medication price comparison
- Discounts and coupons
- GoodRx Gold membership
- Telemedicine and health marketplaces
We’ll explore each of GoodRx’s services in more detail below.
How does it work?
GoodRx has a database covering 70,000 pharmacies across the U.S., including many leading chains. The coupons and discounts you see on GoodRx are agreed upon between the pharmacies and a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM), who then pass this information to GoodRx for use by the customers. This is a similar system to one that insurance companies use to get good deals on medications for their clients from preferred pharmacies.
That said, it seems to be at the discretion of the manager at an individual pharmacy whether these coupons are accepted, which can lead to disappointment if the pharmacy manager elects not to honor the coupon provided by GoodRx. GoodRx always offers that you can call their customer services and they will contact the pharmacy to try to resolve the issue, but having to spend time with customer service isn’t a step that people want to add to their pharmacy routine.
The main service provided by GoodRx is price comparison for your prescription among nearby pharmacies and even mail-order options.
You simply enter your zip code and drug name, prompting a list of nearby pharmacies to appear along with the price for your medicines at each place. Prices for some drugs can vary up to tenfold between different pharmacies, so this information can be very valuable when deciding where to get your medications.
GoodRx also has a section dedicated to common pet medication, helping you find the cheapest source for your pet’s drugs.
When you search for your medication, GoodRx automatically lets you know if there are any coupons or discounts you can use to get a cheaper price.
Some coupons also work for pet medications if they are drugs also taken by humans. This includes drugs like diazepam and amitriptyline. Animal-specific medications and veterinary brands are not yet eligible for coupons or discounts.
If you create an account, a free discount card also comes as part of the GoodRx. This card lets you enjoy discounts at the pharmacy without the hassle of pre-checking for each drug and downloading coupons.
For people with multiple prescriptions who just want a quick and easy experience, this card can add convenience. However, there’s a downside to the card: the discount it provides is not always as good a deal as what you get with the coupons.
GoodRx provides a valuable, money-saving service but it’s not perfect. Here are some tips for avoiding some of the quirks and less user-friendly experiences that are possible.
Contrary to what anyone would expect, you actually need a doctor’s prescription to use the GoodRx coupons and discounts even if the drug is an over-the-counter drug.
If your pet’s medication is eligible for discounts or coupons, you’ll need a prescription from your veterinarian to get the discount.
When you plan to use GoodRx, check the app before your doctor writes your prescription. This way, you can be certain that the prescription is sent to the correct pharmacy.
You can save more money with generic as opposed to brand-name prescriptions. If your prescription is for a specific brand, it’s likely to be more expensive than if the doctor has written you a prescription for the generic drug, although price difference varies for different drugs. Let’s consider Prozac as an example. If you search for Prozac on GoodRx, you might find the price to be around $490 for a month’s prescription, whereas the generic version Fluoxetine costs around $4 a month – less than a hundredth of the price. (If you would prefer to switch to the generic version of your prescription drug, you should speak to your doctor.)
GoodRx Gold is a membership plan that offers even greater discounts at specific partner pharmacies. The monthly fees for the membership plans are $5.99 for an individual or $9.99 for a family of up to six individuals, which can include people and pets. GoodRx offers a 30-day free trial for its membership, after which the customer is billed monthly and can cancel membership at any time.
The GoodRx Gold scheme is not available at as many pharmacies as the free version but can offer greater savings. The GoodRx Gold offers save you up to 90% compared to regular prices and 40% compared to the free version of GoodRx.
Is membership worth the price?
Mileage varies when it comes to this membership, though the month-long free trial makes it easier to try for yourself. On the surface, the membership would appear to be a great deal particularly for multi-person households in which one or more person has multiple prescriptions. Based on our experience, we believe this will usually be the case.
However, the outcome isn’t always predictable, which is what makes the free trial useful. Sometimes the free version of GoodRx unexpectedly works out to be cheaper than the premium membership if there are coupons or discounts that you can use for your particular medications.
In 2020, the company expanded their services to include a comparison of telemedicine services, both for doctor consultations and lab tests. GoodRx compares 26 telehealth services, including their partner brand HeyDoctor, and offers coupons for HeyDoctor and other partner companies.
GoodRx telemedicine marketplace
If you are using the pharmacy comparison service but don’t have a prescription, GoodRx can connect you with a doctor through their own telehealth service – GoodRx Care from HeyDoctor, which is based on online chatting.
When you select your health condition and state of residence, you are shown a list of telemedicine providers, listed in price order. Unfortunately, some prices are monthly subscription fees while others are per-visit prices. This makes comparisons challenging.
Additionally, the state filter doesn’t always work and sometimes the recommended services turn out to be unavailable in your selected state, so be sure to double-check that the service is available in your area.
GoodRx lab marketplace
GoodRx compares 18 common sets of lab tests, including thyroid function, allergy panels, and COVID-19 tests. The site presents available services in cost order, including details of whether the test is an at-home test or performed in a clinic, and which specific parameters are included. In cases where there are various tests available, such as with COVID-19, the website explains differences between the tests in easy-to-understand terms.
Getting started is easy and risk-free. Here are the steps.
Go to the GoodRx website.
Enter your prescription name and location. The site provides you with a list of options ranked by price and location.
Choose which price and location work for you.
You can print out the GoodRx coupons offered for any location or simply show your phone to the pharmacist.
In the free version of GoodRx, the only information you submit on the site is your zip code and medication. No payment or personal identifying information gets entered on the site. In this way, GoodRx offers excellent privacy protection, as they do not hold this information about you.
There are additional services offered by GoodRx that do require some personal information such as an email address, physical address, and payment information. These services include the GoodRx Gold membership and optional services like prescription refill reminders.
When you use a coupon from GoodRx, the pharmacy will send information related to your prescription to GoodRx, which is used to make sure prices are up to date. It is not clear how much personal information from your prescription is sent to GoodRx in this transaction.
GoodRx and GoodRx Gold do not work with insurance companies or Medicare. Medications purchased through the offers on GoodRx are considered “out of network” purchases. Sometimes you can be reimbursed for these medications or count them as credit towards your deductibles. GoodRx recommends you check with your insurance provider.
If you don’t have health insurance or your insurance doesn’t cover your medications, it is worth finding a good deal on GoodRx. For medications that are covered by your insurance company, your decision will depend on your copay and your insurance company protocol. Sometimes your insurance company will be able to get better prices for your drugs than GoodRx, depending on their arrangements with the pharmacies. You should compare prices on your insurance company website and GoodRx before going to the pharmacy.
At Innerbody Research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service. For health-related products and services, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:
Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) and product(s) to the customer? For testing services, does the company adhere to the latest and most advanced testing technologies and achieve a very high degree of accuracy? For non-testing telehealth services, is the quality of the service and/or product high enough that we would recommend it to loved ones without hesitation? If not, why not?
User-friendly: How intuitive and user-friendly is the service? Does the device/program/app/website achieve a good degree of user-friendliness for its customers?
Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?
Privacy: If health data is stored, will your data be stored securely? Are payments secure?
Customer support: Particularly in situations where ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t make sense, how well does the company help to make the service ideal for you?