What is a Prescription Card?

B. Miller

A prescription card is a card issued by a pharmacy to a customer to keep track of the prescriptions purchased. Many prescription cards offer regular coupons or discounts on prescriptions, or act as a type of rewards card where the customer earns points towards a discount with every prescription purchased. A prescription card may also keep track of other, non-prescription purchases made at the pharmacy, and offer percentage discounts or coupons on those as well.

Prescription medicine.
Prescription medicine.

In most cases, a prescription card does not contain any information regarding the customer's actual prescriptions; for instance, the medications prescribed are not listed on the card. This could be potentially dangerous if the information was not regularly updated. This information is still kept on file in the pharmacy, and updated as needed after information is received directly from the doctor. A prescription card is generally just a type of shopping rewards card.

Prescription cards keep track of pharmacy purchases, and regular use is sometimes rewarded with discounts, coupons and other customer rewards.
Prescription cards keep track of pharmacy purchases, and regular use is sometimes rewarded with discounts, coupons and other customer rewards.

A prescription card is generally just a small plastic card similar to a credit card. It will usually have a barcode on the back that can be scanned by the cashier at the drugstore; each prescription card will feature a barcode that is unique to the customer. Some prescription cards are only available in a large, wallet sized form, while others are made like small keytags to hang conveniently from the keys; many stores use this keytag form for store cards, because customers are much more likely to remember to bring them than to bring an extra card in the wallet.

The customer may sign up for a prescription card by going into the pharmacy. Typically, the pharmacy will require basic information such as name, address, and telephone number in order to issue the card. Other information might include allergy information or one's doctor's name, depending on how the pharmacy will associate the information with the customer's account. This information can sometimes be updated online if it changes, or one can go back into the pharmacy to update the information.

It will be important to keep the information current in order to receive mailings and discounts from the pharmacy. Be sure to present the card to the cashier every time while checking out, even if one is not currently purchasing any prescriptions. Some pharmacies may offer extra benefits to those who sign up for a prescription card; for instance, a reminder phone call if a monthly prescription needs to be refilled, or even automatic refills of regular prescriptions.

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