Secret shoppers called pharmacies and requested retail prices – the out of pocket price you’d pay if you didn’t use your insurance – for the generic versions of five common prescription drugs: Actos or pioglitazone, for type 2 diabetes; Cymbalta or duloxetine, an antidepressant also used to treat muscle and bone pain; Lipitor or atorvastatin, for high cholesterol; Plavix or clopidogrel, a blood thinner; and Singulair or montelukast, for asthma.
Some survey highlights:
- In Raleigh, N.C., prices for a month’s supply of the same drug – generic Cymbalta – varied widely among stores that were a few miles apart. On the low end, the drug was available for $43 at Costco versus a high of $249 at Walgreens. However, the pharmacist at Walgreens suggested using the store’s discount program to lower the price to $220, which would require paying a $20 annual fee.