CLEVELAND - A 5 On Your Side investigators found shopping around for the best prescription drug prices could help you save hundreds of dollars each month.
We compared out of pocket prices at five popular northeast Ohio pharmacies, including CVS, Giant Eagle, Marc's, Walgreens, and Walmart.
We asked pharmacists at the drugstores for the price of a 30-day supply of the five best selling drugs in the U.S., including Lipitor, Plavix, Nexium, Abilify and Advair.
Our results showed the prices at each store vary depending on where your purchase your prescriptions.
For example, a 30-day supply of the antidepressant drug Abilify costs $208 more at CVS than at Marc's.
A 30-day supply of Advair, an asthma drug, cost $192 more at CVS than at Walgreens.
CVS had the highest prices out of the five pharmacies we checked. Lipitor, a cholesterol lowering drug, cost $225.99. Plavix, a blood thinner, cost $258.99. Nexium, a heartburn medication, cost $249.99. Abilify cost $1,091.99. Advair cost $316.99.
In response to our research, Mike DeAngelis, a public relations director at CVS, sent us a statement. It said, "CVS/pharmacy offers thousands of convenient locations, many open late at night or 24 hours, an automated prescription refill system, online prescription ordering for pick-up at the CVS location of a customer’s choice, drive-through pharmacy window service, and many other services that contribute to the prices we charge in our pharmacies." (click here for the full statement: http://on.wews.com/OBeD8T )
Known for having low prices, Walmart lived up to its reputation when we checked its prescription drug costs. We found Walmart had the lowest prices for Lipitor, Plavix and Nexium. Lipitor cost $174.62. Plavix cost $212.78. Nexium cost $201.32.
Marc's, a locally-based drugstore, had the lowest out of pocket price for Abilify. It costs $883.99.
Walgreens charged the lowest price for Advair. It costs $124.99.
"It breaks down to who's got the heart and who's out for the almighty," said John Docherty.
The northeast Ohio resident said shopping around for prescription prices changed his life. Docherty was paying close to $600 each month for two prescriptions until he switched to the locally-owned pharmacy. Docherty said he now pays approximately $60 each month.
"I can't explain how much of a savings it's been in my life. I'm able to play golf again, you know," said Docherty.
"I don't think it's a very moral pricing structure myself," said Tom Ohliger, a pharmacist and the owner of Ohliger Drug Store of Fairview Park, about prescription drug prices.
Ohliger said he used to work for large drugstores chains. Like DeAngelis, he said the costs of security, rent, and other expenses can be passed down to customers.
As an independent owner, he has more power to choose the prices he charges customers. For example, Ohliger said he charges out of pocket prices of $160 for a 30-day supply of Lipitor and $190 for a 30-day supply of Plavix He said, if they chose to, large chains could keep their prices just as low.
"They should review their costs," he said.
To review our research, click here: http://on.wews.com/Ma43VT
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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