Pharmacy price check: are you paying more than you have to?

MGN Online

It's not like it used to be. Mom and pop pharmacies are hard to come by these days. Big- chain businesses where you can buy just about anything--and pick up your prescription, too are on most corners now. But since they are businesses, their prescription prices vary, sometimes by a very wide margin.
We picked four popular pharmacies to conduct our own prescription price check: The Kroger pharmacy, Walgreens, CVS and Walmart.
We then took a small sampling of some popular prescription drugs: Paxil, Norvasc, Flomax, Zantac, Tamiflu and Viagra.
Here are some of our findings: Since most people buy the generic versions, we focused on those prices.
If you shop at CVS or Walgreens, you could get the generic version of Paxil for about 27 dollars less at Kroger and Walmart! The blood pressure reducing drug Norvasc in generic form is about 21 dollars less at Kroger than CVS where you'll pay $39.99 for the same amount of pills. Flomax is $65.84 at Walmart. But you'll pay almost double that amount at Kroger where it's $120.39 for the same amount. And you'll pay three times more for Zantac's generic version at CVS than you will at Kroger or Walmart and almost six times more at Walgreens. There isn't a generic version of Tamiflu, but the brand name prices do fluctuate from store to store. Of the pharmacies we asked, we found it cheapest at Walmart for $127.32 for the adult version.
There's no generic for Viagra either, but 3 pills will cost you the least at Walmart.
"We are the medication experts," Dr. Patricia Freeman says all the prices we just weighed-- forget them. The cost is not worth the price.
"If you shop around, you may go to one pharmacy to get one prescription filled. They have no idea that you're on ten other medications that you get from a different pharmacy. So they can't do their due diligence and check for interactions and duplicate therapy, said Freeman."
Dr. Freeman says in today's society with people living longer and more chronic disease, medications have become the mainstays of therapy, making it critical to get to know one pharmacist who knows your healthcare needs.