Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Prescription drug costs lowest at Costco, highest at CVS, says Consumer Reports
First Published Mar 29 2013 02:25 pm • Last Updated Mar 29 2013 02:40 pm

Some of the most popular prescription drugs that recently became available in generic form are sold at the lowest prices at Costco and at the highest prices at CVS Caremark, according to an analysis by Consumer Reports.

Failing to comparison shop for drugs — such as generic Lipitor to lower cholesterol or generic Plavix to thin the blood — could result in overpaying by $100 a month or even more, depending on the drug, the report said.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The article will be available in the May issue of Consumer Reports.

Consumers may find good deals at local independent pharmacies, Consumer Reports said.

One of the big takeaway messages from the analysis is that the customer must ask the pharmacist for the best price, the publication said.

"Especially for the independent pharmacies, if they want to retain your business and loyalty, they will help you get the best price," Lisa Gill, an editor at Consumer Reports, said.

One reason for the wild cost fluctuations may be that different types of stores have different business incentives, she said.

"It really comes down to a store’s business model. For example, big box stores tend to use their pharmacies as a way to get consumers through the door with the expectation that they’ll buy other things," Gill added.

Victor Curtis, senior vice president of pharmacy for Costco, said the retailer does not sell below costs and that its pharmacy is a contributor to Costco’s overall profitability.

Consumer Reports conducted its analysis by using "secret shoppers" who called more than 200 pharmacies throughout the United States to get retail prices, without using insurance, on a month’s supply of five blockbuster drugs that have recently become available as generics.

story continues below
story continues below

The drugs were diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone); antidepressant Lexapro (escitalopram); cholesterol fighter Lipitor (atorvastatin); blood thinner Plavix (clopidogrel); and asthma drug Singulair (montelukast).

There was a difference of $749 between the highest and lowest priced stores.

For example, one month’s supply of generic Lipitor costs $17 at Costco, Consumer Reports’ secret shoppers found. The same drug cost $150 at CVS. Rite Aid and Target had similarly high prices.

Consumer reports recommends getting refills for 90 days instead of 30 days, as most pharmacies offer discounts on a 3 months’ supply.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.