Gas station without pumps

2014 January 23

Pill prices are not uniform

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 10:44
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This year UC eliminated the health care plan that I’ve been using for the past several years, and the closest similar plan was quite expensive.  I decided to switch to a low-cost plan that has a high deductible, which means that I’ll be paying cash for my prescriptions and doctor visits this year, at least until I reach the deductible (which probably won’t happen—unless I have a major bike accident or someone in the family gets seriously ill).

I take generic atorvastatin, a very cheap drug, on a daily basis for controlling cholesterol. I decided to check whether I should continue with the pharmacy I’ve been using (the closest one) or look for a cheaper one.  Under the previous insurance plan, I could select pharmacies for convenience, since my co-pay was the same no matter what.  I checked online, and found that Consumer Reports had found a big difference between pharmacies for generic atorvastatin, so I called both my current pharmacy and Costco (the one that Consumer Reports had found cheapest).

If I stay with the CVS I’ve been using, my atorvastatin would cost me $9.40 a day.  At Costco, it would be 77¢ a day (both based on 100-pill purchases of both 2omg and 40mg pills and no Costco card or other discounts). I had expected some difference in price, but not a 12-to-1 difference!

If I used a pill splitter, I could reduce the costs to $7.05 a day at CVS or 61¢ a day at Costco, but the hassle of splitting pills is not worth 16¢ a day.  Needless to say, I’ve asked my doctor to switch my prescription to Costco.


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