Consumer Reports just published some straight-talk on finding the lowest prescription drug prices. In their “secret shopper” campaign they surveyed pharmacies around the country and their results are interesting to say the least!
In our national price scan, secret shoppers made more than 300 phone calls in all, to more than 200 pharmacies in six cities and their surrounding areas across the U.S. They requested prices for five common generic drugs: Actos (pioglitazone), for type 2 diabetes; Cymbalta (duloxetine), an antidepressant also used to treat muscle and bone pain; Lipitor (atorvastatin), for high cholesterol; Plavix (clopidogrel), a blood thinner; and Singulair (montelukast), for asthma. What we found was startling. In short, prices can vary widely from retailer to retailer, even within the same ZIP code. – Consumer Reports, 12/2/2015
Drug Prices Vary
There are so many things that can affect prescription drug prices including local pharmacy discount programs, paying out of pocket vs with insurance, requesting generics, or even simply requesting a discount. Did it ever occur to you to just… Ask for a discount? 🙂 With prescription drug prices on the rise, it pays to ask.
“It sounds crazy that you would need to approach buying prescription medications like you would a used car—by shopping around and haggling. But that’s the reality of today’s pharmaceutical marketplace,” says Stephen Schondelmeyer, Pharm.D., a pharmacoeconomics professor at the University of Minnesota. – Consumer Reports, 12/2/2015
Also Read: Prescription Drug Prices On The Rise
Consumer reports suggests that drug prices could vary as much as 10 times more at one retailer vs. another (even in the same regional market). In one such example, Debbie Diljak (from Raleigh, N.C.), noted the cost for “a month’s worth of the generic Cymbalta she takes ranged from $249 at a Walgreens to $43 at Costco“. That's almost 6 times more if she were to purchase from Walgreens!
Finding Lower Prescription Drug Prices
Understanding the right strategies and tactics for finding lower prescription drug prices and be a lifeline for many boomers and seniors today. Here are some strategies from Consumer Reports to keep in mind when looking for deals on prescription drugs:
- Skip chain drugstores
- Support independent drug stores/pharmacies
- Don't always use your health insurance
- Always ask “Is this your lowest price?
- Seek a 90-day prescription
- Shop/Look online
What are you doing to stay on top of prescription drug prices? How is this topic affecting your budget at home? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below.