Save money on prescription drugs

CONSUMER REPORTS- It’s your money, and the amount you spend regularly on prescription medications can really add up.

People who refill regularly spend more than $700 a year on drugs on average. To help keep more of that money in your pocket, Consumer Reports has sifted through prices at almost 200 pharmacies.

You’d think that the price of a drug would be fairly standard. But Consumer Reports shoppers found that prices can differ by more than $100 for the same generic drug.

For example, a month’s supply of atorvastatin, the generic version of Lipitor, ranged from just $11 to $199. Lisa Gill, Editor of Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs, says one simple way to save is just to ask for a lower price.

“It worked for our secret shoppers,” said Gill. “In one case we saved $31.”

Costco’s pharmacy is another good way to save.

“We priced the cost of five common generic prescription drugs at nearly 200 pharmacies across the country. Costco was substantially less expensive than any other chain store,” said Gill.

You don’t have to be a Costco member to fill your prescriptions there.

But also don’t rule out your local independent pharmacy. Sometimes they offer bargain prices as low as Costco’s or offer to meet a competitor’s price. But you do have to ask.

Wherever you shop, if you have insurance, don’t automatically use.

“For some medications, if your drug insurance co-pay is more than $10, you may be better off not using your insurance and just paying the retail price.”

Walmart, Sam’s Club, Walgreens CVS, Kmart, Target, and other pharmacies offer hundreds of generic prescription drugs at deep discounts. Prices are as little as four dollars per month and ten dollars for a three-month supply.

If you take medications over the long term, consumer reports says ask your doctor for a 90-day prescription rather than a 30-day.

If your insurance company allows it, you’ll be able to save on multiple co-pays. Also be aware that many drugstore chains have loyalty programs that can save you money.

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