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Pharmacy: The secret to getting generic drugs even cheaper

By Clark Howard

April 3, 2013 | Generic drugs now account for well over 80% of all prescriptions. Just 10 years ago, less than half of drugs sold were generics.

Much of the growth is because employers make generics extra-affordable through mail order programs (pharmacy benefits managers). Then you also have the grocery stores and big box retailers who do $4 generics. Meanwhile, a lot of breakthrough drugs that were patent protected are no longer so and are now selling as generics.

But what you don’t know about the pricing of generics can hurt your wallet.

The big pharmacy chains discount generics 30% from the brand name price. So let’s say the brand name is $100 dollars. The generic at CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens will be $70.

On the other hand, if you go to Walmart or Target, you can likely get that generic prescription filled for $4. And if you go to Costco, prescriptions are marked up 14% over cost. So if they buy that drug for $1, you will fill it for $1.14 while it could be $70 elsewhere!

Be sure when you go to your doctor to bring a list of the cheap $4 prescriptions. One regional grocer, Publix, even offers free antibiotics!

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