Skip to comments.How to get generic drugs even cheaper Rx prices can vary by $170 among retailers
Posted on 01/05/2014 9:39:36 AM PST by RKBA Democrat
Generic drugs now account for well over 80% of all prescriptions. Just 10 years ago, less than half of drugs sold were generics.
Much of the growth is because employers make generics extra-affordable through mail order programs (pharmacy benefits managers). Then you also have the grocery stores and big box retailers who do $4 generics. Meanwhile, a lot of breakthrough drugs that were patent protected are no longer so and are now selling as generics.
But what you don't know about the pricing of generics can hurt your wallet.
The big pharmacy chains discount generics 30% from the brand name price. So let's say the brand name is $100 dollars. The generic at CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens will be $70.
On the other hand, if you go to Walmart or Target, you can likely get that generic prescription filled for $4. And if you go to Costco, prescriptions are marked up 14% over cost. So if they buy that drug for $1, you will fill it for $1.14 while it could be $70 elsewhere!
Be sure when you go to your doctor to bring a list of the cheap $4 prescriptions. One regional grocer, Publix, even offers free antibiotics!
Meanwhile, a new report from The Florida Sun Sentinel finds the price of a prescription can vary by as much as $170 for a 30-day supply.
A reporter named Doreen Christensen called around to price a Lexapro prescription at a variety of retailers. Here's what she found: "Costco $6.99; CVS $114.99; Publix $118; Sams Club $83; Target $147.99;Walgreens $116.99; Walmart $115.88 and Winn-Dixie $179.99."
The beauty of Costco is you don't need to be a member to use their pharmacy. Simply show up and explain you want a prescription filled. Many Costcos have a separate entrance for their pharmacies to accommodate walk-in non-members.
Pharmacy Member Service phone: 1-800-607-6861 fax: 1-800-633-0334 email: webpharmacy@Costco.com
ALSO: these stores are offering low cost or free generics:
Giant Eagle Supermarkets (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Northern West Virginia and Western Maryland) provide many generic drugs at $4 or $10 a prescription, and some prenatal vitamins for free.
Hy-Vee Stores(Midwestern States)offer $4 (30 days) and $10 (90 days) generics. You can browse by category on the Hy-Vee website.
Kroger (Midwestern States) has a long list of low cost generic drugs.
Market Street Pharmacies and United, Market Street and Amigos United Supermarkets (Texas) offer free pre-natal vitamins and some free antibiotics, dozens of both prescription and over-the-counter medications at $4. .
Meijer Stores (Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky) offers some antibiotics, pre-natal vitamins and some diabetes medicine for free. Learn more about these free medications. You may have to dig through the website to find them because they make it difficult to find.
Price Chopper Supermarkets (Missouri and Kansas) offer hundreds of $4 generics.
Price Chopper Supermarkets (Upstate New York and New England) offer free antibiotics and free diabetes medications.
Publix Supermarkets (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina) offers generic antibiotics, a free ACE inhibitor (blood pressure medicine) and some free diabetes medications
Reasor's Foods / Pharmacies (Oklahoma) offers free antibiotics, and free childrens' vitamins when they have been prescribed by a doctor.
Schnuck's Pharmacies (Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Mississippi, Iowa) offers a 21-day supply and prescribed refills for several types of antibiotics, and free prescription prenatal vitamins.
Shoprite Markets offer free antibiotics and some free diabetes medications, plus 30 and 90 day generics for $3.99 and $9.99. Find more information about ShopRite's programs.
Stater Bros. (Southern California) offers 30 and 90 day generics for $5 and $10. They even offer $4 co-pay drugs for pets! Find more information about Stater Bros' programs.
Stop&Shop Supermarkets (New England, New Jersey and New York) no longer offers any free prescriptions, but does offer low cost generic drugs in some stores.
Target (nationwide) offers hundreds of generic drugs at $4 per prescription.
Walmart / Sam's offers $4 generic drugs, but not in all states. Get more information about Walmart drug discounts.
Wegmans (New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland) offers some free antibiotics, and $10 and $4 co-pay generic drugs.
Don't know about other states, but in FL it's state law that all pharmacies be open to anybody. Just explain at the door that you're headed for the pharmacy, and Costco will let you in.
When she had the prescription filled it was $170. When I told them she had no insurance they re-filled it as a generic for $14
If she had insurance it would have only cost her the $10 “co-pay”, so she would not care about the price. The insurance company would have eaten the addition $160. This is why insurance costs so much.
“Co-pay’s” are the cause of many of the ills of the system. When the thing you want costs the same no matter where you go, there is no incentive to price things down.
When The government forces insurance to cover Viagara, it continues to cost $170 (or more) for a prescription.
In a free market, a drug that would allow men to have more sex would be so mass-produced that the costs would be down to pennies per pill.
But when The Government forces insurance to cover it at $170, it maximizes profits to keep making it the same way (as if it is in rare supply -OR- demand)
Four dollar at Wally World list !... PDF file !
The Lexapro example is misleading. Lexapro (escitalopram) has had generic competition since 2012. It looks like some retailers are quoting the price of branded Lexapro, while others are quoting the price of generic escitalopram.
Why would one want to get branded Lexapro, effectively paying $140 more per month of therapy? Because the manufacturing standards vary greatly between manufacturers as well. Although the manufacturing facilities for all drugs sold in the US are inspected by the FDA (even if the plant is in India or China), a doctor may be wary of altering medication for a patient if the current therapy is working.
> In a free market, a drug that would allow men to have more
> sex would be so mass-produced that the costs would be down
> to pennies per pill.
Sure, if you don’t account for the cost of developing the drug in the first place (cost: $800MM to $1B in 1998 dollars)
> But when The Government forces insurance to cover it at
> $170, it maximizes profits to keep making it the same way
> (as if it is in rare supply -OR- demand)
The government isn’t forcing insurance companies to cover it at a higher price. Viagra is still protected by patents giving the original manufacturer exclusive rights to sell the drug. The price of the drug is set by negotiations between the manufacturer and the various payers. Medicare/Medicaid get the “best price” (to greatly simplify matters). The regulatory and compliance landscape is so complex that a company might be found guilty of Medicare fraud without any ill intent. This has resulted in the creation of a compliance apparatus that adds greatly to the cost of drugs for everyone.
Drug pricing is a complex issue. I suggest checking out this book for a true free market perspective:
Updated/Revised $4 Walmart Prescription List
(as of 12-31-13)
>>all drugs sold in the US are inspected by the FDA (even if the plant is in India or China),<<
I don’t trust our FDA to test anything least of all drugs from a country that keeps us afloat financially.
I sure miss not having a CostCo.
Clark Howard always gives out useful information and he is personally so cheap that he is driven to look for the best deals.
It's not the insurance coverage, it's the patent. Which is entirely constitutional.
Of course, a variety of games are played to get patents and copyrights extended in ways that the Founders never intended, but that's another question entirely.
Should be noted that your list is from 2008.
Used to get one of the items on there for $4.
Showed up to have a script refilled a couple of years ago, and two months refill went from $8 to $190.
Same drug went up just about everywhere else at the same rate. Never did find out why.
Neither do a lot of doctors. That is why many patients are still taking branded drugs from the original manufacturer despite generic competition. At least a US-based company can be sued if proper use of its product results in harm.
Why do you think generic drugs are so much cheaper? The same reason that toys made in China are cheaper (watch out for the carcinogenic paint on that toy car).
ClaratinD -24 hour allergy medication is $14-20 for 15 at CVS depending on whether you get the CVS brand or the Claratin brand.
Costco’s Kirkland brand is $5.79 for the same thing. If you can get your doctor to write a prescription, you can get a 30-day supply. If you spouse gets 15,you can get a 45-day supply on the same day.
And what you don't know about the formulation of generics can hurt your health.
That name brand and generics are not always interchangeable is usually known. What is less well known is that generics are not always interchangeable with each other.
Pharmacies are not obliged to tell you when they have switched from one brand generic to another so if you are taking generics check every new bottle to see that they match what you were taking before. If they are different then treat them as a whole new medication and keep alert for different side effects.
Next time I need an antibiotic, I’ll give this a try...http://www.doomandbloom.net/how-to-use-fish-mox-to-treat-your-sick-fish-of-course/
I have a friend who uses it and has never had a problem.
NO...all drugs are NOT inspected in foreign countries....they SAY they are....proving it, though, could be a problem.