Discount Prescription Drug Programs

When you or a loved one have to deal with medication on a regular basis, sometimes it can be difficult remembering whether or not you’ve taken your dosage for the day. Additionally, you shouldn’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay for them. Luckily, there are a lot of prescription drug programs that can save you money, and most chain stores and pharmacies offer them. Let’s take a look at the what’s and why’s, and then we’ll look at some of the various programs from specific retailers.

What’s Included: Generic-drug programs cover hundreds of medications to help with treating many common conditions, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, depression, osteoarthritis, and allergies.

What’s (normally) not included: Newer, brand-name drugs.

How Plans Work: Some places require you to sign up for membership or pay annual fees. Others only need a doctor’s prescription. Some of those memberships must be renewed yearly, while others are open-ended. Make sure to find out all the details before you need to fill your prescription in case the enrollment process takes longer than you thought.

Why pharmacies can sell drugs so cheaply: Some will say it’s because they buy in bulk, while others will say that membership fees help to offset costs. However, some may lose money on these programs, but others, like “big box” stores, might make it up through impulse buys or sales of other high-ticket items.

What Insurance Covers: Generic meds included in these programs can usually be cheaper than your co-payment. If you have a $10 co-pay but the drug you need is offered somewhere for $4, you should be able to get the cheaper deal. All you need to do is pay for the drug out-of-pocket and the pharmacy won’t submit the claim to your insurance company. Ask about any exclusions or how the program works with Medicare, Medicaid, or another program you use.

Where to get good prices besides chain stores: If you normally shop at a mom-and-pop shop, ask if they will match the discounts of the chain stores. In many cases, they will at least try, and might even offer a discount drug program of their own.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the programs offered by some chains:

CVS Pharmacy

Discount: $11.99 for a 90-day supply.
What’s covered: More than 400 generic drugs.
Membership: $15 annual enrollment fee per person.
Who is covered: People not using insurance.
Bonus: Get CVS’s Health Savings Pass and save 10% on flu shots and visits to CVS’s MinuteClinic retail health clinics.


Discount: $4 for 30-day supply or $10 for 90-day supply.
What’s covered: About 300 generic drugs.
Membership: No fee.
Who is covered: All are covered.
Bonus: Earn points toward purchasing discounted gas at Kroger fuel centers and participating Shell stations. Prescriptions paid for by Medicaid or Medicare do not qualify.


Discount: $4 for 30-day supply or $10 for 90-day supply.
What’s covered:  More than 200 generic drugs.
Membership: No fee.
Who is covered: All are covered.
Bonus: Use Target’s discount generic program to earn 5% off all Target purchases made on a single day after filling five eligible prescriptions at the pharmacy.


Discount: $11.99 for 90-day supply.
What’s covered: Over 400 generic drugs.
Membership: $20 annual enrollment fee per person or $35 annual enrollment fee per family
Who is covered: People who aren’t enrolled in a publicly funded health-care program.
Bonus: Join Walgreens’ Prescription Savings Club and get discounts on over 8,000 brand-name and all generic medications, and save 10% on flu shots. And when you purchase store-brand products and photo-finishing services, you can earn bonuses toward your next purchase.


Discount: $4 for 30-day supply or $10 for 90-day supply.
What’s covered: Almost 300 generic drugs.
Membership: No fee.
Who is covered: All are covered.
Bonus: Participate in Walmart’s Retail Prescription Program and you’ll get free shipping options, so you won’t need to even go to the store.

These are just a few of the options you may have available to you. There may even be more programs depending on your area. Be sure to check with local retailers for the specifics of what they offer.