-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- Prescription drug prices
at U.S. pharmacies can vary widely, and failing to shop around
could result in people overpaying by as much as $100 or more a
month on average, depending on the drug, a new study finds.
Consumer Reportscalled more than 200 pharmacies across the
United States to get retail prices (out-of-pocket costs) for a
one-month supply of five popular medicines that have recently gone
The medicines were: the diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone); the
antidepressant Lexapro (escitalopram); the cholesterol-lowering
drug Lipitor (atorvastatin); the blood thinner Plavix
(clopidogrel); and the asthma drug Singulair (montelukast).
For a one-month supply of these drugs, there was a $749
difference between the highest- and lowest-priced stores -- a more
than four-fold difference, according to the study in the May issue
Overall, Costco outlets had the lowest retail prices and CVS had
the highest, the report found. Among the specific findings:
Different business approaches are one reason for the wide price
variations, according to Lisa Gill, prescription drugs editor at
"It really comes down to a store's business 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 explained in a Consumer Reportsnews release.
If you want to get the best deals, shop around and always
request the lowest price, Gill advised.
"A consumer can't assume that the price of their prescription medications is set in stone," she said. "One of the big takeaways is that you have to ask for the best price and see if your pharmacist will work with you. Especially for the independent pharmacies, if they want to retain your business and loyalty, they will help you get the best price," she said.
Other ways to save money include:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about
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