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Pharmaceutical retail-price survey shows consumers ways to save.

A survey in May 2003 comparing prices charged in the same towns by a sample of different pharmacies, ranging from independently owned businesses to large retail and discount chains to Internet providers, showed significant price differences. The states surveyed included Virginia, Georgia, Iowa, Texas, Illinois, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, and Pennsylvania.

The "Rx Challenge" surveys, sponsored by Consumer Alert and two other non-profit groups showed that consumers might be able to save money by comparing prices the same way they do for their groceries. Of course, shopping for prescription drugs isn't the same as shopping for other consumer goods such as groceries. The higher price may be worth it in some instances. Pharmacies are not just drug dispensers. Consumers often receive other benefits relating to their safety and health. Also, driving across town to get a somewhat better deal may not make sense. The convenience of going to a pharmacy close to work or home certainly does have value in saving time.

The survey included seven commonly prescribed drugs. Two generic and five brand-name prescription drugs were included. In every city and state surveyed, the results show a wide variance in prices for the same drug. Therefore, consumers should check around for prices on prescription drugs.
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Publication:Consumer Comments
Date:Jun 22, 2003
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