Consumer Reports: Big-Name Drug Savings

By Consumer Reports
|  Friday, Jul 12, 2013  |  Updated 3:48 PM CDT
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Consumer Reports checked out prices of the generic drugs at more than 200 pharmacies, including Walgreens, CVS, Target, Walmart, and Costco, as well as independent and supermarket pharmacies and online.

Deanna Dewberry, Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports checked out prices of the generic drugs at more than 200 pharmacies, including Walgreens, CVS, Target, Walmart, and Costco, as well as independent and supermarket pharmacies and online.

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Atorvastatin, the generic for Lipitor, is now widely prescribed to combat high cholesterol. Consumer Reports checked out prices of atorvastatin at more than 200 pharmacies, including Walgreens, CVS, Target, Walmart, and Costco, as well as independent and supermarket pharmacies and online.

Consumer Reports found that prices for atorvastatin varied tremendously depending on where you got the prescription filled. Among chain stores, atorvastatin cost the most at CVS—$150 for a month’s supply. Costco had the best price, $17. You don’t have to be a Costco member to use its pharmacy, and Consumer Reports found that it also had low prices for other blockbuster drugs that have recently gone generic.

Those drugs were the generics of:

  • Actos (pioglitazone) for type 2 diabetes
  • Lexapro (escitalopram) for depression
  • Singulair (monntelukast) for asthma
  • Plavix (clopidogrel), a blood thinner

With all the prescription drugs that Consumer Reports checked, CVS tended to be the most expensive.

NBC 5 contacted CVS about the Consumer Reports findings, this is the company's statement:

Pricing surveys do not accurately reflect what most pharmacy customers pay for their prescriptions, and are not effective in accurately comparing prices between pharmacies, due to various value, discount and third party insurance programs. Regarding the Consumer Reports survey, a random price check of only five drugs is too small to draw meaningful conclusions about which pharmacies offer the best overall value for customers.

-Mike DeAngelis | CVS/pharmacy

RiteAid and Target weren’t much cheaper. As for Walmart, it fell somewhere in the middle of the pack. But two online retailers offered very good deals—Healthwarehouse.com and FamilyMeds.com.

And Consumer Reports says don’t forget to check independent and supermarket pharmacies. In some cases, Consumer Reports found that their prices were even lower than Costco’s.

No matter which drug you’re prescribed, Consumer Reports says don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about costs. You may be able to get a lower-priced alternative to treat your condition.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.
 

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