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  • Scripta

Generic Doesn’t Guarantee Best Price

May 2013 – Consumer Reports called pharmacies throughout the United States to get pricing for a month’s supply of several generic drugs. What they found might surprise you.

In response to a Consumer Reports national telephone poll which showed that Americans pay, on average, $758 annually for prescription drugs, the magazine had its secret shoppers call more than 200 pharmacies nationwide looking for pricing on several popular generic drugs. Their advice for Americans looking to reduce out-of-pocket drug costs: “shop around.”

The Consumer Reports study revealed that generic drug pricing can vary dramatically depending on where you shop. Indeed, a monthly supply of five of the most popular generics cost $916 dollars at CVS and only $167 at Costco. That’s a difference of $749, or 447%, between the highest and lowest priced stores.

The magazine reports that, “Costco was the least expensive overall, and you don’t need to be a member to use its pharmacy. A few independent pharmacies came in even cheaper, though their prices varied widely, as did grocery-store pharmacies. The online retailers and also had very low prices. On the other end of the spectrum, CVS, Rite Aid, and Target had the highest retail prices.”

“It’s enough to make your head spin,” said Scripta founder Dr. Paul S. Bradley. “And let’s not forget that pricing varies not only store-by-store, but drug-by-drug depending where you shop.” The Consumer Reports article offered sound advice, suggesting that shoppers might consider paying retail, as pricing for some drugs is actually cheaper than many insurance co-pays.


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