The cost of prescription drugs can be very high. Here are some ways you may be able to lower the cost:
- Apply for state pharmacy programs.
The State of Vermont has two programs that can help some people pay for prescription drugs. One is for uninsured Vermonters and one is for people with Medicare Part D. For more information, call 1-800-250-8427 or visit the Green Mountain Care website.
- Apply for the Health Assistance Program (HAP).
The Health Assistance Program (HAP) is run by the UVM Medical Center. HAP can help low-income patients who can’t afford their prescriptions. This is an emergency service – HAP will not pay for your prescriptions all year. To find out if you are eligible, call HAP at 802-847-6984. Please note, if HAP agrees to help pay for your medicine, you will have to pick up your medicine at UVM Medical Center’s pharmacy in Burlington.
- Ask your doctor for free samples.
Let your doctor know that you are having trouble paying for your prescriptions. Ask if they have free samples of any of your drugs. Prescription drug companies often send free samples to doctors.
- Ask your doctor if there is a generic drug that will work for you.
Sometimes the generic form of a drug will cost less than the brand name. Stores like Hannaford, Walmart, Shaw’s, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Price Chopper and Costco often carry generic drugs at their pharmacies.
- Ask a health clinic if they offer financial assistance for prescriptions.
There are many health clinics in Vermont. Many of them will give people free or low-cost prescription drugs. You can find a nearby clinic on this website. Or, call the Office of Health Care Advocate at 1-800-917-7787 for help finding a clinic.
- Apply for General Assistance (GA).
General Assistance can help low-income people in emergency situations. If you need prescription drugs but cannot pay for them, you can go to your local Department for Children and Families (DCF) Economic Services Division (ESD) office to apply. If you are found eligible, they will pay for your drugs. For a list of DCF-ESD office locations, go to their website.
- Buy your prescription drugs from Canada.
Prescriptions usually cost less in Canada. One way that you can order drugs from Canada, without having to go there in-person, is through Canada Pharmacy. For more information, go to their website or call 1-800-891-0844.
- Look for a discount program through the drug company.
Some companies that make prescription drugs have programs that will help people who are uninsured and/or low-income. To find out if the company that makes your drug offers a discount program, call the company directly or ask these organizations for help:
- Free Medicine Program: Free Medicine Program is a not-for-profit group. They can help you find drug manufacturer discount programs to help lower the cost of drugs you take. Call them at 1-800-921-0072 or visit their website.
- Partnership for Prescription Assistance: Partnership for Prescription Assistance works like the Free Medicine Program. They can help you find prescription drug patient assistance programs. You can call them at 1-888-477-2669 or visit their website.
- Pfizer: If Pfizer makes any of the drugs you take, they might have a program that offers free or low-cost prescriptions. Call them at 1-866-706-2400 or visit their website.
- Johnson & Johnson Patient Assistance Foundation: Johnson & Johnson offers a discount program for some prescription drugs. Call them at 1-800-652-6227 or visit their website to see if you can get help with any of your medications.
- Order your prescriptions from a mail order pharmacy.
If you know you will continue taking a medicine for a long time, it’s usually cheaper to order a big supply from a mail order pharmacy. Ask your insurance company if they have a mail order pharmacy option.
- Apply for a Vermont Rx Card.
This is a pharmacy discount card for Vermont residents. Visit their website for details.
- Look for coupons.
Several organizations offer assistance paying for prescription drugs and, in some cases, other medical services. Go to the websites or call the numbers listed below to see if help is available for you.
GoodRx (also has a mobile app)
|Online contact form|
- Apply for help from Rx Outreach.
Rx Outreach offers some prescription drugs for $20 for a 180-day (6-month) supply. They charge the same price for any dose or strength of the same drug. For more information, call 1-800-769-3880 or visit the Rx Outreach website. To qualify, your household income must be less than 300% of the federal poverty level (see the chart below). If you are approved, you can order medications through RxOutreach with a valid prescription from your doctor. This is a mail order pharmacy program.
Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2020
|Persons in Family||300%|
- Ask for the Green Mountain United Way discount prescription drug card.
If your medical insurance does not include prescription coverage or does not cover your prescription, you can save an average of 20% (on brand name drugs) to 40% (on generic drugs) by using this discount card at participating pharmacies. Visit their website for more information. You can also contact Green Mountain United Way at 802-613-3989 or email email@example.com to ask for a card and to find out more about the program.
- If you need diabetes drugs or antibiotics, check out the Price Chopper Pharmacy.
Price Chopper Pharmacy provides some free diabetes drugs and antibiotics (with a valid prescription). For more information, visit their website. Or call your local Price Chopper Pharmacy to learn more. You can find the number for your local Price Chopper here, or by calling 1-800-666-7667 Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Check with Costco to see if your prescription is available through their store at a cheaper price.
You do not have to be a member to get a prescription filled at Costco. For more information, call 1-800-607-6861 or visit their website.
- Other pharmacy discounts.
Many pharmacies have their own discount prescription programs. For example, Walmart Pharmacy has a $4 prescription program and a $10 program for 90-day prescriptions. Ask your pharmacist for more information and consult with your doctor about writing prescriptions for 30- or 90-day supplies to maximize your discount.