What to Do if Your Medication Is Too Expensive

By John Little, PharmD

February 28, 2022

Expensive Meds

Although the cost of medication is burdensome for many patients, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can take actionable steps to get your medicine cost lower. Whether your medication is prescription or over-the-counter, for you or your pet, brand name, or generic, you can save. This article will educate you on ways to save money on your medication!

Medication Costs

Money spent on medications continues to rise in America, and in 2020 alone, prescription drug spending totaled over $348 billion. If you feel the pressure of increasingly expensive medications, know that you are not alone. On average, Americans spend over $1,300 per year on prescription drugs, and about 3 in 10 adults report not taking their medicine as prescribed because of the cost.

The reason for high drug costs remains multifactorial, with many players contributing to this growing problem. While dramatic change might be necessary to address this widespread issue, the good news is that you have options for getting your medication at a lower cost. Whether you have insurance or not, you could try many things that you could try to lower your medication cost before you pay. Let’s take a look at some of these options now.

Discount Savings Card

If you want to save money on your medicine, a great place to start is by downloading the ScriptSave® WellRx app. In the app, you can search for the name of your medication, and it will instantly show you the cost at various pharmacies near you, allowing you to compare prices and get the best deal on your medicine. All you have to do is simply bring your phone to the pharmacy (or call in advance), show them the savings card information on your app, and you’ve just saved money!

With the ScriptSave WellRx prescription savings card, savings may even be up to 80%.* There is no monthly fee to access the program, and it’s accepted at more than 60,000 pharmacies nationwide. This is a quick and easy way to get discounted prices on your medicine and may even be cheaper than your insurance copay.

On the ScriptSave WellRx app, you can access multiple practical features beyond the price savings. For example, the app Medicine Chest feature allows you to set pill and refill reminders so that you can take your medicine on time and get your refill before you run out. You can also access drug information on the app through written materials and short explainer videos.

Learning about medication is vital for all patients to ensure it’s taken correctly and safely. The ScriptSave WellRx app can even directly connect you with a pharmacist if you have medication questions or clarifications you would like to discuss with a professional.

Other Ways to Save

Other strategies to save that deserve a shot include asking for a larger day supply, searching for manufacturer coupons, and switching medications entirely.

In some instances, the price-per-pill could change if you request a 60 or 90 days supply of medication compared to 30 days. For example, if you take Bystolic (nebivolol), 30 days supply might cost you around $35. However, if you take this medication year-round and have refills remaining on your prescription, you could request to get 90 days supply at a time, which might cost you around $80. As you can see, the cost per pill could be cheaper for 90 days than if you were to get a 30-day supply on three separate occasions.

Manufacturer coupons are also a good cost-saving tool if your medication is a brand name. Often, drug manufacturers offer Patient Assistance Programs or coupons directly available on their website to help patients like you. These are not without limitations, though, as sometimes there is a limit on the number of times you can use the coupon or a maximum allowable saving per coupon. Additionally, patients that have prescription drug insurance through a federal program, such as Medicare or Medicaid, are legally prohibited from using a manufacturer coupon in addition to their prescription drug insurance.

If you’ve tried the strategies above and nothing seems to bring your medication to a reasonable cost, you should communicate this concern to your prescriber and discuss changing the prescription to a different medication. Doctors know that cost is a major factor in whether a patient will take their medication. Generally, they would prefer that a patient communicate the desire for something cheaper than totally not taking any medication at all.

Usually, but not always, a generic medication will be cheaper for your out-of-pocket costs than a brand-name medication. Doctors and pharmacists know this, so it is acceptable to simply ask if your medication is generic. If not, you can request the generic version instead of the brand. To clarify a common misconception, generic medication is equally as effective as brand-name medications.

If you feel that your medication is too expensive and want to explore ways to save, you should start by downloading the ScriptSave WellRx app. As described earlier, you can try multiple things to lower the cost of your medicine. While medicine cost certainly can be problematic, rest assured that you have options!

*DISCOUNT ONLY – NOT INSURANCE. The program is administered by Medical Security Card Company, LLC.

John Little graduated with a PharmD from the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy in 2020, making him the 5th pharmacist in his family. John has over 5 years of experience working at an independent pharmacy in Oklahoma, where he helps patients in his community to manage their medications and live healthier lives.


  1. https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/NHE-Fact-Sheet
  2. https://data.oecd.org/healthres/pharmaceutical-spending.htm
  3. https://www.kff.org/health-costs/poll-finding/public-opinion-on-prescription-drugs-and-their-prices/
  4. https://www.wellrx.com
  5. https://www.wellrx.com/rx-discount-card/enroll/
  6. https://www.wellrx.com/ask-a-pharmacist/
  7. https://www.wellrx.com/prescriptions/BYSTOLIC/Shawnee%20Hills%2C%20OH%2043065%2C%20USA/?freshSearch=true
  8. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.119.041974
  9. https://www.hhs.gov/answers/public-health-and-safety/are-generic-drugs-the-same-as-brand-name-drugs/index.html
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This feature requires registration. Sign up or log in to your free WellRx account to gain access to this and other tools to help make managing your medications and wellness easier.

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Store & manage your medication list
Medication pricing updates
Import medication from your pharmacy
Medication information
Pill & refill reminders
Medication journal & mood log

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