Generic retail drug-pricing varies by store


But just because you're buying a generic drug doesn't mean you're getting a great price. It may depend on where you buy them.

Atorvastatin, the generic for Lipitor, is now widely prescribed to combat high cholesterol.

Consumer Reports checked out prices of Atorvastatin at more than 200 pharmacies, including Walgreens, CVS, Target, Wal-Mart, Costco as well as other independent and supermarket pharmacies.

"We found that prices for Atorvastatin varied tremendously depending on where you got the prescription filled," Lisa Gill of Consumer Reports said.

Among chain stores, Atorvastatin cost the most at CVS, $150 for a month's supply. Costco had the best price, $17. The good news is you don't have to be a Costco member to use its pharmacy. Consumer Reports found Costco also had low prices for other blockbuster drugs that have recently gone generic.

Those drugs were the generics of Actos for type 2 diabetes, Lexapro for depression, Singulair for asthma, and Plavix, a blood thinner.

"So with the five prescription drugs that we checked, CVS tended to be the most expensive," Gill said. "Rite Aid and Target weren't much cheaper."

As for Wal-Mart, it fell somewhere in the middle of the pack. But two online retailers also offered very good deals, health warehouse and family medications.

"No matter what drug you're prescribed, don't be afraid to talk to your doctor about costs," Gill said. "You may be able to get a lower-priced alternative to treat your condition."

And don't forget to check independent and supermarket pharmacies. In some cases, Consumer Reports found their prices were even lower than Costco.

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