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Prescription Drug Cost Informative - Varying price of prescription drugs

Review by Sarah May on 2007-05-23
So I apologize if I'm boring everyone with common knowledge here, but it has just been brought to my attention how significantly the cost of a prescription can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy - even from location to location of the same pharmacy.

I needed a prescription filled yesterday for a drug which would not be covered by my insurance and because I didn't know the cost of the drug, I asked my doctor's nurse if I could call the pharmacy ahead to ask the price. That way I could decide if it was worth it to me (no, this isn't insulin or heart meds, obviously). She said, "Make sure you call more than one place."

"Really?" I asked, "Isn't prescription price pretty standard?"

Oh my goodness, no! Again, if I've just been living in the dark for all these years, please forgive me for wasting your time, but I had no idea that the same drug could cost $20 less at one pharmacy than it does at another. For me, that's a huge jump. And like I said, there can even be a huge variance from one Walgreens to another, because apparently each location marks up depending on their own demand.

So in case there are others out there like me who had no clue, I thought I'd share. :)
Comments:13 Replies - Latest reply on 2007-05-23
Posted by Pomona Guy on 2007-05-23:
What drug were you prescribed?
Posted by Sarah May on 2007-05-23:
I think the price will vary significantly with most drugs and it's worth a shot calling around no matter what the drug is, in my opinion. But since you asked... It's a hormone to delay my period so I won't start on my wedding day. :) Remember - you asked!
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-23:
Congrats Sarah May!!! I hope this a 'want to' and not a 'bun in the oven' type of wedding.
Posted by Sarah May on 2007-05-23:
Well if I had a bun in my oven, I wouldn't have to worry about having a period on the big day, right? :)
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-23:
Bloody el, what was I thinking.
Posted by imjustasteph on 2007-05-23:
Do people get married because of pregnancy anymore?
*I* didn't.....
I thought that was outdated and now moms were just either single or went ahead and killed the baby....
Posted by chemman on 2007-05-23:
Sarah May, thanks for pointing this out. I have stated this same issue before but many people do not know this. I work in the pharmaceutical industry and see this all the time. Yes, the price discrepancy is pretty much across the board on any type of drug. I believe it was the NYTimes that did a story about this a year or two ago and found that on some of the most common drugs there were differences of up to 200% within the same city. Pharmaceutical companies take a beating for the price of medications and while they are a big part of the problem, there are many layers to it including middlemen resellers and all the different pharmacies that charge whatever they can/feel like. It pays to call around for prices of prescriptions, especially if you are uninsured.
Posted by Grateful on 2007-05-23:
I work @ a call center that deals with Medicare Part D prescriptions only, Some Meds run as high as $21,000.00 a month. I think this is absolutely ridiculous! And our Senior citizens can't cross the Mexican border to get their meds! There is no reason except greed for this outrage. Most senior citizens have to choose weather they should eat or get their meds each month. I will never give in to this crap, I will die first. They will never get all my money. Take better care of yourself, eat foods that will rot within 5 days or less. The Gov. says that Diabetes is your own fault so you get to pay for your meds for that, could run $400.00 a month,and your SS probably is only $600.00 a month. Imagine that.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-23:
Congrats on the wedding. I will leave the reasons alone for the post other than to say drug prices are all over the place. I use this card when insurance does not cover: http://www.sunrisedrugplan.com

Our best to you on the big day!
Posted by Sarah May on 2007-05-23:
Steph - my four-year-old is actually going to be our flowergirl. :) So yeah, I didn't either!
Posted by Sarah May on 2007-05-23:
superbowl - I tried to leave it alone, too. But curiosity informed the cat of things he really wasn't interested in after all. lol
Posted by *Brenda* on 2007-05-23:
Thanks superbowl for that link. My precription is cheaper with that card than insurance!
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-23:
Do we need to point out the obvious to Stew? If it were a bun-in-the-oven situation, she wouldn't be needing a prescription to delay her period. It's a safe bet it would already be 9 months delayed.

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