An article that will appear in the May issue of Consumer Reports will tell it’s readers that some of the most popular prescription drugs that have recently become available in generic form are sold at the lowest prices at Costco. The report will say that some of the highest prices are at CVS Caremark. One month’s supply of generic Lipitor costs $17 at Costco. The same drug costs $150 at CVS. Target and Rite Aid have comparably high prices as well.
Consumer Reports suggests that the customer “must ask” the pharmacist for the best price possible, and that it is still feasible to find good deals at local independent pharmacies. “Especially for the independent pharmacies, if they want to retain your business and loyalty, they will help you get the best price,” said Lisa Gill, an editor at Consumer Reports. She said one reason for the diverse pricing may be that various types of stores have different business incentives. “It really comes down to a store’s model. For example, big box stores tend to use their pharmacies as a way to get consumers through the door with the expectation that they’ll buy other things,” she added.
Consumer Reports conducted it’s study by sending “secret shoppers” into more than 200 pharmacies throughout the country. Without using insurance, they priced five “blockbuster” drugs that have recently begun to offer generic prescriptions. These include the diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone); antidepressant Lexapro (escitalopram); cholesterol fighter Lipitor (atorvastatin); blood thinner Plavix (clopidogrel); and asthma drug Singulair (montelukast). The publication also suggests getting 90 day refills rather than 30 days – most pharmacies offer discounts on a 3 month supply…… Reuters 3/29/13