Generics of big name drugs could mean big savings

March 28, 2013 3:06:50 PM PDT
They are commonly prescribed drugs: Lipitor, Actos, or Lexapro. But new generics of these and other big name drugs could be a real money saver.

But keep in mind, just because you're getting a generic drug, doesn't always mean you're getting a price.

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, Walmart, and Costco, as well as independent and supermarket pharmacies and online.

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

Among chain stores, Atorvastatin cost the most at CVS - 150 dollars for a month's supply. Costco had the best price - 17 dollars.

You don't have to be a Costco member to use its pharmacy, and Consumer Reports found it 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. RiteAid and Target weren't much cheaper," said Gill

As for Walmart, it fell somewhere in the middle of the pack.

But two online retailers also offered very good deals -Healthwarehouse and FamilyMeds.

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

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