Study: Drug discount cards could mean big savings at the pharmacy

For 30 tabs of the generic version of the drug Lipitor, you're probably going to pay more than $100.

But, with AARP's prescription drug discount card, the price tag could be cut in half.

That's what the consumer website ConsumerWorld.org found during a recent study it conducted about little-down prescription drug discount cards.

In fact, the website's research found that while the cash price for the generic version of Lipitor was $109.99, it cost just $46.94 with the AARP discount card. With AAA's discount card, the drug cost $47.94 and with Simple Savings' card, $60.79.

ConsumerWorld used five different discount cards from AAA , AARP , National League of Cities , Simple Savings and Una Rx , and found that you can more than 70 percent off the cash price with these cards if you don't have prescription coverage.

Drug discount cards are offered if you're a member of AAA or AARP and there are others that are available for free on various websites, the study said. But they're not considered insurance and can only be used to buy prescriptions that aren't covered by insurance or if you don't have insurance at all. Some pharmacy chains also sell proprietary cards, according to ConsumerWorld, that are only good at their own pharmacies.

AAA Arizona representative Stephanie Dembrowski said their discount card saved Arizona members $220,000 in 2011 on 18,642 prescriptions.

"Members can save up to 50 percent on a prescription, and the average member saves about 24 percent across the board," she said.

ConsumerWorld found that the average savings using the cards was 16 percent and that no one card offers the most savings overall. The discounts vary from drug to drug and store to store.

Their advice? Compare prices. ConsumerWorld recommends that you get a few different discount cards and try them out to see where you can save the most.

Click here to read ConsumerWorld's full report.

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