Drug Coupons

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Drug coupons and discounts are available in many forms, including free printable coupons, promotional price offers, coupon codes, manufacturer's rebates, prescription discount cards, free samples, and patient assistance programs.

Medicines are available either over the counter (OTC) in nonprescription preparations or by prescription to treat sickness, diseases, and health conditions. Printable drug coupons are more commonly available for OTC medications such as aspirin or Nyquil®, while prescription medications usually provide vouchers which need to be accompanied by a valid prescription. Savings are provided by manufacturers, government agencies, and third-party health discount plans. Some of these programs offer free medicines to qualified individuals for up to a year.



OTC medications Nonprescription medicines do not require a doctor's approval, and are sold over the counter[1]
Prescription drugs Prescription medications must be prescribed by a physician and must be purchased through a pharmacy[1]
OTC vs RX Drugs Sixty percent of the medications bought today are over the counter[2]
Most commonly offered OTC drugs and new RX medications
Types of coupons: Discounts, promotional offers, manufacturer rebates, patient assistance programs, free samples, prescription drug cards, insurance
Disclaimer The information provided by PharmacyDrugGuide is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not take any action based on the information on this page without consulting a physician.
Author Susan MacDowell


Drug Coupons and Patient Assistance Programs

Pat Gleason and Shelly Sanchez of Prime Therapeutics share at Pharmacy Benefits Management Institute (PBMI) February 2014 how co-pay offset programs are one way Prime helps make high-cost specialty medicines more affordable for members.

How to Find Drug Coupons and Discount Programs

Depending on the type of medicine, there are several places to find printable coupon deals and discount price offers for both prescription and nonprescription medications. The types of offers will vary. Some may be a voucher for a specific dollar amount off of the regular price, while others may take the form of a rebate from the drug manufacturer.

  • Doctors may have coupons for prescription medications. They are also a source for free drug samples, manufacturer rebates, and other promotions.
  • Online coupon vendors often provide access to printable medication coupons and pharmacy discount coupon codes. However, these may not be accepted by all pharmacies.
  • Over-the-counter drug coupons, discounts, and discount cards are often included in local newspapers and sent via postal mail. Pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy, as well as grocery stores like Kroger, offer printable coupons for many OTC medications. Coupons circulars like RedPlum also have OTC coupons, available in printable form, inside their circulars, or clip free.
  • National health magazines sometimes display pharmaceutical company promotional ads and price discounts. Coupons may also be included in the ads.
  • Pharmaceutical companies typically offer printable discount coupons, savings offers, or prescription support direct from their official medication websites.

Patient assistance programs may help consumers get free medications or medicines at a significantly reduced cost. A consumer does not need a coupon to receive the benefit of a patient assistance program, but they will need to meet certain plan-specific eligibility criteria. These programs are available for prescription medications, and usually require patients live or have residency in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the US Virgin Islands. Income guidelines or financial hardship is usually a qualifier as well, with patients needing to meet a certain annual income level, typically less than a specific percentage (such as 200 percent), of the Federal Poverty Level. Another qualifier involves prescription drug coverage. Some programs require patients not have coverage at all, while some specifically state patients cannot be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or other federal or state sponsored plans.[3]


Massachusetts Drug Coupons

On July 8, 2012, Massachusetts became the 50th state to allow prescription drug coupons, which until then had been disallowed by state law. Governor Deval Patrick signed H. 4200, which allows prescription coupon use on any medication that does not have a generic equivalent. Prescription medication with generic equivalents are still disallowed. Some of the medications coupons are now allowed for include Humira®, Abilify®, Cymbalta®, Nexium®, Lunesta®, Crestor®, Singulair®, and Suboxone®.[4] [5]

If the bill is not renewed, it will expire in five years.[5]

Prescription Discount Cards

Drug savings cards provide patients with discounts on a variety of pharmaceuticals, and are provided by several sources. The cards are often available at no cost to consumers, and may be presented at participating pharmacies at the time of purchase to get a percentage off of prescriptions.

In addition, some drug stores provide savings cards and rewards cards that give money back to those who purchase prescriptions or other goods. For example, the CVS ExtraCare card offers 2 percent back in Extra Bucks, and one Extra Buck for every two prescriptions bought by cardholders.[6]

Copay Assistance Coupons Lawsuit

A consumer group is suing eight large drug manufacturers over their copay coupon programs, alleging that they increase costs for insurance providers and cause patients to reach their maximum benefit limit faster than if they chose generics instead.

Typically, the coupons lower the out-of-pocket costs to consumers to that of the drugs' generic equivalents. However, when patients use the brand-name drugs, employer or insurance providers' contributions are substantially higher than they would be for generics. Generics are required by the FDA to be just as safe and effective as the brand names, but cost a fraction of the price.

The consumer group wants commercial co-pay subsidies to be illegal. These subsidies are already banned by Medicare, Medicaid, and other publicly-funded health care programs.

The drug companies that are named in the lawsuit include Merck, AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Amgen, Pfizer, and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. There are 25 different medications being cited for having been promoted for copay coupons. These include Sensipar®, Enbrel® and Enbrel® Sureclick, Pristiq®, Januvia®, Androgel®, Celebrex®, Chantix®, Effexor® XR, Geodon® oral, Diovan®/Diovan® HCT, Focalin® XR, Abilify®, Zetia®, Crestor®, Janumet®, Avodart®, Nasonex®, Nexium®, Lipitor®, Vytorin®, Humira® and Humira® Pen, Lovaza®, and Crestor®.

About Drugs

Drugs and medicines fall into two classifications, non-prescription and prescription. In order to be able to purchase a prescription drug or device, a doctor must first provide a written set of orders (script) to the pharmacist. This written prescription order directs the pharmacist on the drug or treatment to be dispensed, dosage, frequency, number of refills and other instructions to ensure that the patient receives the proper medications.

According to the FDA, there are over 300,000 OTC drug and medicine products available to the public without a prescription. The FDA has estimated that six out of every ten medicines bought by consumers today are over-the-counter medications.[2]

Also see: Patient Assistance Programs, Prescription Drugs, Abilify Coupons, Advair Free Samples, Valium Coupons, Ambien Coupons, Flomax Coupons, Plavix Coupons, Lexapro Coupons, Allegra Coupons, AARP MedicareRx Plan



  1. 1.0 1.1 http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/QuestionsAnswers/ucm100101.htm
  2. 2.0 2.1 http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/HowDrugsareDevelopedandApproved/ApprovalApplications/Over-the-CounterDrugs/default.htm
  3. http://www.merck.com/merckhelps/vaccines/qualify.html
  4. http://www.fdalawblog.net/fda_law_blog_hyman_phelps/2012/07/massachusetts-relaxes-laws-on-the-offering-of-prescription-drug-coupons-and-meals-to-health-care-practitioners.html
  5. 5.0 5.1 http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2012/07/drug-coupons-massachusetts
  6. https://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/user/extracare/extracare.jsp