Beat your co-pay for prescriptions

- Here, at the end of famed Route 66, a small startup is paving a new path -- for prescriptions.  And the company's co-creator is taking aim at our Pavlovian belief in our co-pays.

We are trained to trust that our co-pay for prescriptions unlocks access to the very best prices for medicine.  We’re paying a monthly premium for that service, after all.

But are we making a smart decision? Are we really getting the best price when we blindly trust our insurance company?

Scott Marlette says no.

Marlette co-founded a company called GoodRx, which monitors drug prices and gives consumers free access to its real-time data.

TRY GOODRX: http://www.goodrx.com

"Most people have insurance, so they don't think about this, but they should,” he said. “Everyone should."

GoodRx gives consumers a one-stop source to compare prescription prices and locate the best price. In some cases, consumers print a free coupon to take to a particular pharmacy. GoodRx serves as a medical matchmaker -- a referral service of sorts.

"We make money when people go to the pharmacy and use the coupons," Marlette explained.

We found GoodRx easy to use -- even on a smartphone. Prices bounced back almost as soon as we clicked. It also helped us spell the convoluted names of medications.

But the real proof is in a live-fire comparison.

GoodRx appears most lucrative for consumers who do not have drug coverage. We tested GoodRx with two of the country’s most common medications: Nexium and Lipitor. Compared to walk-in prices we researched with pharmacies by phone, GoodRx offered users significantly lower prices.

LIPITOR
Best cash price: $30 (Walmart)
GoodRx referral price: $10.90 (Walmart)

NEXIUM
Best cash price: $233.99 (CVS)
GoodRx referral price: $102.77 (Walgreens)

Marlette says thousands of people are using GoodRx and its mobile app. He estimates that GoodRx will save consumers about $500 this year. He said the company is also tracking pet medicine prices and achieving similar savings.

"You get pretty good prices when you just start shopping around," he added.

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