PBS NewsHour reporter Megan Thompson interviewed her own mother, Carol, who was diagnosed in 2009 with breast cancer, concerning her newly obtained generic status prescription drug letrozole. Carol Thompson was paying $400 per month for a 30 day supply of the drug until daughter Megan price shopped.
Thompson found that Costco offered the same generic drug for about $10. Other pharmacies came in with $11.04, $29.88, $45.99, $364.99 and $455.00. Thompson’s research indicated independent pharmacies and stores like Costco offered the best pricing.
This author telephoned about a commonly prescribed narcotic analgesic called hydrocodone, the generic name for Vicodin, and found prices ranging for 120 pills (a 30 day supply) of $40 to $120.
Upon learning a friend was struggling to pay for her thyroid medicine, an internet search for the company that manufactured the medication generated a coupon cutting the monthly cost from $112 to $50 per month for one year.
Pharmacists in drug and sundry stores were seemingly reluctant to discuss pricing other than to say the pricing was created by the company’s main office and what the market for a given geographic location will bear.
In retail circles, this type of pricing criteria is called ‘regional pricing,’ a system based on a given areas average per capita income, competition and customer draw, among other factors. All products from food, school and office supplies, electronics and prescription pricing are based on an equivalent formula.
The Thompsons are saving $4,620 per year just by placing a phone call. This author’s friend is saving $720 per year by contacting the drug manufacturer and many pharmaceutical companies offer reduced prices for seniors and those with low income. Try both. Contact the drug manufacturer and call around to pharmacies.
The results may be stunningly pleasant.
Paul Mountjoy is a
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