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This app has saved Americans $10 billion on prescriptions so far


(CNBC) – Back in 2010 Doug Hirsch, a techie who has worked at Facebook and Yahoo, had a frustrating experience trying to pick up a prescription. He went to a big chain pharmacy in Los Angeles and was told — to his dismay — that his prescription would cost $450. An experienced shopper, Hirsch decided to do a price comparison. So he went to another pharmacy, where he learned the same prescription would cost him $300. Then he went to a third, where the pharmacist tried to negotiate, asking if he had a copay card and offering to match the price at another pharmacy.

“For me this was eye-opening. I just figured it was a person in a white coat and they came up with the price. To learn there was a competitive market blew my mind,” he said.

When he got home from his pharmacy visits, he searched the drug name and price on Google only to come up empty-handed. Unlike shopping for plane tickets or shoes, drug prices can be almost impossible to find until you’re at the pharmacy trying to fill a prescription.

Hirsch’s experience led him and two other tech geeks to start GoodRx, a Santa Monica, California-based company that helps consumers find and compare prescription prices close to home or work through a free and easy-to-use app and website.

To get the information, GoodRx partners with pharmacy chains such as CVS, Target, Walgreens, Kroger and Walmart; pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) such as Express Scripts and Caremark; and pharmaceutical companies. Individuals can now get real-time prices at 70,000 locations nationwide.

The company, which ranks No. 6 on the 2019 CNBC Disruptor 50 list, says consumers can save up to 80% with its free GoodRx Pharmacy Discount Cards, as well as through coupons on its site. The company claims that it’s helped Americans save $10 billion on prescriptions since launching in 2011.

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