Tips for shopping for prescription drugs: Consumer Reports

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

Shopping around for medications

Summary: We’ve written a lot on prescription drug pricing; here’s our prescriptions page. Consumer Reports took up the topic recently: “Millions of Americans have been hit with high drug costs within the last year. In fact, a recent Consumer Reports National Research Center poll of 1,037 adults showed that a third of those who currently take a drug said they experienced a spike in their prescription drug prices in the past 12 months — anywhere from just a few dollars to more than $100 per prescription. According to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, big price jumps can be due to anything from a product shortage to a change in your insurance coverage. And in rare instances, manufacturers may raise prices simply because they have no competitors also selling the medication. … Our poll shows that most people just fork over the money. Only 17 percent comparison-shopped to see whether they could get a better deal. If you have a standard insurance co-pay, it might not occur to you to shop around. But sometimes the price you’d pay out of pocket … might be less than your co-pay. … Case in point: Metformin — used to treat type 2 diabetes — sells for just $4 for a month’s supply, or $10 for a three-month supply, at stores such as Target and Walmart, while a co-pay for a month’s worth averages about $11. And if you do decide to pay out of pocket, the prices retailers charge can vary a lot. To find out what various retailers were charging, we had secret shoppers check prices for five common generic drugs at stores around the country, including chain drugstores, big-box retailers, supermarkets, and independent pharmacies.” “Tips for Finding the Best Prescription Drug Prices,” Consumer Reports.