I want to start this blog post by informing you all that I am NOT in any way affiliated, receiving compensation for, or have any connection at all to GoodRX.com. I am writing this blog post because medication is a pretty major part of managing and maintaining Bipolar Disorder, so finding ways to cut costs on medications is generally a good thing.
What is GoodRX.com?
GoodRX.com is a search engine, of sorts, that compiles and compares pharmacy pricing information to help you find the lowest cost on your prescriptions. Their service offers different coupons as they come available to further help the user cut their cost. They do not require a sign up or a credit card, in fact, their service and app are both free. If you create an account, you get a few additional benefits such as: price alerts, new coupons, finding the lowest average price to get all your prescriptions at a single pharmacy, as well as updates sent to your email.
As of this writing (7/8/2016), they currently have 27,000 reviews and a 4.7 rating on the Google Play Store for their app.
So, what’s the catch?
GoodRX.com is not forthcoming about how they are actually making their money. In the research I conducted, I mostly agree with this write up by Ejovi Nuwere, as well as his concerns. Namely, that they have partnered with Pharmacy Benefit Managers to generate sales. The PBMs earn a transaction fee in exchange for driving customer traffic to certain pharmacies. The marketer (GoodRX.com) is then paid a transaction fee from the PBMs. Essentially, a type of internet affiliate marketing.
The other concern is information. Data is king in marketing. Users of this service are essentially providing “free” data to GoodRX.com on their prescriptions and whatever other personal information they provide. It is written into into their Terms of Service that they will not sell that information. However, if GoodRX.com was created and funded by another company, that information will go to that company. So, for example, if Pfizer is the one that paid for it, then Pfizer would have access to those assets because it’s not “selling” the information.
A concern that Nuwere puts forward is the sale and acquisition of the company. If the company is sold, any data collected would go with it as part of the company’s assets, because it is not technically a sale of the data. It would be a sale of the company.
Should you use GoodRX.com?
It depends on how you feel about providing information to a third party. You can use their website and service without actually signing up, thus you can avoid providing any directly linked personal information; but they are still collecting data, even if it’s not directly attached to a name.
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