The May 2018 issue of Consumer Reports included several articles on what consumers can do to help keep their prescription costs under control. While ordering your medications from the first online pharmacy to show up in your search results may seem like a good idea, chances are you would be giving your money to an illegal online pharmacy. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, these rogue pharmacies frequently like to say they are Canadian, but the criminals who operate these websites generally have nothing to do with Canada and could be operating anywhere. The medicines they sell are often unapproved or counterfeit.
One article in the May issue discussed the importance of comparing the price for the same medication at different pharmacies near you. The closest pharmacy may be the most convenient, but one just a little farther away could save you a lot of money. Some websites that let you quickly do a price comparison search in your area so you can save yourself some time too.
Consumer Reports had their secret shoppers call over 150 pharmacies in six metropolitan regions around the U.S. and ask what the retail cash price was for a one-month supply of five frequently prescribed drugs. The drugs they asked about were generic versions of Actos, Celebrex, Cymbalta, Lipitor, and Plavix. The best cash price for a one-month supply of all five medications was $66 at HealthWarehouse.com. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy certified HealthWarehouse.com as a safe and they are licensed/authorized to fill prescriptions in all 50 states.
If you feel uncomfortable or do not wish to purchase your prescription drugs online, your next best step is to visit GoodRx.com or WeRx.org to view prescription prices in your area. They even have free to use coupons which you can either print out and bring to the pharmacy, or they are available on their app for iPhone and Android smartphones. Consumer Reports found that Costco had the second-best total with the five medications costing $105 and independent pharmacies averaged out in third place. The best total from an independent was $69 and the worst at $1,351. Other pharmacies included in the research were Sam’s Club, Walmart, Kmart, many chain grocery stores, Walgreens, RiteAid, and CVS/Target. Consumer Reports said that checking the prices at various independent and grocery store pharmacies should be something that everyone does because even though the prices at these two types of stores had the most significant variation from place-to-place, those were also some of the places that had the best prices.
Once you have found a pharmacy that offers you the best price, remember it is essential to have all of your medications filled there. Pharmacists are often a frontline defense against any potentially harmful drug interactions.