Some Americans are seeing their drug prices skyrocket, but you may be able to save money if you change where you shop for your prescriptions.
Consumer Reports’ secret shoppers compared the price to fill five common generic prescription drugs at more than 200 pharmacies across the country, including Costco, CVS, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart, as well as independents and supermarket pharmacies, and a verified online pharmacy.
The drugs in Consumer Reports’ national price analysis are commonly prescribed generics for Actos, Cymbalta, Lipitor, Plavix, and Singulair. Of the prescriptions that Consumer Reports looked at, the three biggest drugstores—CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid—were the most expensive.
The bill for all five drugs at Walgreens was $603. At Rite Aid, it was $827. And the cost at CVS was the highest, at $855. The price at Costco was much lower, costing only $117. And you don’t need a Costco membership to fill your prescriptions there.
Buying the drugs online was the best deal of all. It cost only $83 at HealthWarehouse.com. When filling prescriptions online, Consumer Reports recommends only shopping at “Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites” that show the VIPPS logo. HealthWarehouse.com carries the VIPPS logo.
Consumer Reports also found some real bargains at independent mom-and-pop pharmacies, but you may need to ask for a better deal. Their pharmacists often have more flexibility to match or beat competitors’ prices. Never be afraid to ask a pharmacist for a lower price no matter where you shop. Some pharmacies may charge you less if they know you’re paying out of pocket.
Consumer Reports also found that many chain and big-box stores offer common generics as low as $4 for a 30-day supply if you pay out of pocket. That’s likely to be less than you’d pay for your insurance co-pay. You’ll find more advice on saving money on prescriptions here.