Saving money at the pharmacy- Ask an expert
I recently asked a Pharmacist what the best way to save money on prescriptions at the pharmacy. She told me that I should make sure I was buying the generic version of a medicine whenever one is available. The name brand medicine can cost several times what a generic version costs.
Even if you have insurance that covers prescription drugs, generic medicine can save you a lot of money. On my insurance for example, the copay for name brand medicine is $30-$45. The copay for generic medicine on the other hand is only $15. Many generic medicines cost much less than my $15 copay. Discount pharmacies such as Walmart or Target sell many generic prescriptions for as little as $4/ month.
It is not a surprise that generic medicine costs less, but is it really a good idea? Are the generic medicines as effective as the name brand medicine? They are according to the pharmacist I spoke to. She pointed out that many times the generic versions of the drug are manufactured by the same companies that produce the regular versions. She even pointed out a few generic medicines that had the name of the name brand medicine printed on the generic pills.
It wasn’t just my pharmacist that believes in generic medicine. A recent study done at the university of Chicago found that 90% of pharmacists use generic pills when possible, while only 70% of the general population chooses generics. If the experts are using generic medicines shouldn’t you be too?
Choosing a pharmacy
Besides using generic medicines, the other way to save money on prescriptions is to use the right drug store. A recent report by consumer reports shows huge differences in what drug stores charge for generic prescriptions. Consumer reports found that their sample of 5 generic drugs cost as little as $167 at Costco or as much as $916 at CVS. That is a large difference. For those who don’t have a Costco near where they live, healthwarehouse.com had the cheapest price from a website in the Consumer Reports study.
But Costco wasn’t the cheapest price on all the medicine, so I recommend calling several pharmacies to get price quotes to see who has the best deal on the medicines you need. Spending a little time to make a few phone calls can save you a lot of money.
Photo courtesy of Richard Dunstan