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Discount prescription cards do they really work?

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AYDEN, N.C. - In recent years, many Americans are looking for ways to save money when it comes to paying for the rising costs of healthcare.

Some companies are hoping your attempt to save money will turn into a profit for them, by promising big savings on prescription drugs if you use their free discount card.

9 On Your Side started looking into one of these cards to see if they actually provide the savings they claim. The answer is yes and no, depending on whom you ask.

9 On Your Side talked to several local pharmacists who say usually when they run the cards the discount card price is more expensive than their retail price.

"Nine times out 10 our prices are better than the discount card prices,” said Edward’s Wellness Pharmacy owner, Horace Tripp. “[Customers] They're disappointed that there is not a reduction in price."

Tripp says in order to explain the price his pharmacy started investigating some of the discount card companies. He found, some of the same details as 9 On Your Side. The discount card companies get paid by pharmaceutical companies every time a consumer uses the card.

“The companies that give the cards away have to sell the information on how many drugs are being used in the area to the drug companies. That's invaluable to the drug companies for the usage in the area,” said Tripp.

While many times the cards don’t provide the up to 75% off prescriptions advertised, some consumers say they have saved money using the cards.

The Better Business Bureau offers these tips for consumers planning to use discount prescription cards:

·         The card is not insurance. Consumers should compare prices of medications before using the discount cards.

·         Although the savings may be real with the discount card, they may be based on prices other than the ones offered by local pharmacies. Comparing prices allows the consumer to get the best price for the medication.

·         If a consumer is struggling to pay for medications, ask your pharmacist about patient assistance programs that could provide even greater discounts.

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