If you've been buying generic medicine at a major convenience store, you might want to explore other options.
A Consumer Reports survey revealed people can pay up to $862 more on generic medicine at the highest-priced pharmacy, compared to the lowest. HealthWarehouse.com had the cheapest prices, while CVS, Rite Aid, and Target had the most expensive prices for generic drugs.
Here is the list of stores ranked in order of the lowest to highest prices, according to the consumer watchdog:
- Independent pharmacies
- Sam's Club
- Grocery stores
- Rite Aid
Of course, if you have insurance that will cover the cost of the drugs, the price difference may not be that much between the stores. But that might not always be the case, so be sure to comparison shop before you make the purchase. Sometimes the cost of buying generic medicine out of pocket at Costco may be lower than your insurance copay, according to some redditors in a thread discussing the study.
Thankfully, free services like GoodRX exist to do the work of comparison shopping for you by scanning prices at nearby pharmacies and providing coupons to get the lowest possible cost for your medication. The company claims to help people save up to 80% off their medications through the process.
If you are paying out of pocket, it only makes sense to shop at the store that provides the lowest prices. The amount you can save buying medicine can be quite hefty. Shoppers in the study found that a generic Lipitor at HealthWarehouse.com costs around $10, while CVS would sell it for $135.
It always helps to do your research on medication costs before spending the big bucks. Consumer Reports found that, while the stores in the study almost always honored online discounts, you have to make sure you ask and are persistent. The report says:
There are in-store discounts, but they're rarely applied unless you ask for them specifically. Third-party online discount coupons tend to be even deeper and more attractive. So ask for "all available" discounts, and then make sure to get the best option. Otherwise, pharmacists may simply use your insurance or, if you don't have insurance, offer you a smaller in-store discount or even charge you the full retail price.