Comparing Apples to Apples: Prescription Pricing in Utah
Ronald W. Mortensen, Ph.D. Lisa Montgomery
150 East Social Hall Avenue Suite 650 Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
As part of its ongoing research on poverty and health care, the Sutherland Institute conducted a study todetermine whether an individual, without prescription drug insurance, could save a significant amountbased on where a prescription was filled.
The Institute selected five commonly prescribed brand name drugs:
Flonase, 16 gm. bottle, 50 mcg/act suspension
Pharmacies throughout the state, both major chains and independently owned and operated stores, weresurveyed. In addition, prices were obtained for the same drugs on four United States websites and oneCanadian web site.
Because Prozac is now available as a generic, three of the surveyed pharmacies (Costco, Orchard Drugand Canada Discount Rx) no longer offer it in the brand name form. Therefore, to obtain the total pricefor all five drugs, we have estimated the price these companies would charge for it based on their otherdrug prices. When we deleted Prozac from the survey, with the exception of Canyon View Pharmacy inOgden, the ranking of the various pharmacies remained unchanged.
The total price for all five prescription drugs when purchased at in-store pharmacies rangedfrom $473 at Costco to $586 at Rite Aid, a difference of $113 or 19%.
The same five drugs purchased from canadadiscountrx.com would cost $300, a savings of49% based on the highest U.S. price or 36% when calculated on the lowest U.S. price. (Note: Shipping and handling is not included).
Among U.S. Websites surveyed, the total price for the five drugs ranged from $472.69 atcostco.com to $503.90 at Eckerd.com. (Note: Shipping and handling not included).
Costco has the lowest in-store prices for all five drugs ($473) followed by a small indepen-dent pharmacy, Orchard Drug in North Salt Lake ($497).
With the exception of Costco ($473) and two small independent pharmacies (OrchardDrug in North Salt Lake - $497 and Peterson Pharmacy in Ogden - $515), the lowest phar-macy prices in Utah were found outside of the Wasatch front - St. George ($512), Price($526), and Logan ($535).
The highest Utah in-store pharmacy prices were found at Rite Aid ($586), Albertsons($576), Terrace Pharmacy in Ogden ($573) and Smiths ($572).
The lowest internet and Utah pharmacy prices for each drug surveyed were as follows:
Lipitor - drugstore.com ($94.99), Costco ($95.37) and Orchard Drug, North Salt Lake($98.95)
Celebrex - costco.com ($84.77), Costco ($84.77) and Orchard Drug, North Salt Lake($95.95)
Prevacid - Eckerd.com ($116.20), Walmart, St. George ($119.56) and Bateman Pharmacy,St. George ($119.95).
Flonase - drugstore.com ($59.99), Costco ($61.69) and Orchard Drug, North Salt Lake
Prozac - drugstore.com ($109.70), Peterson Pharmacy, Ogden ($108.20), Walmart,Ephraim ($110.72). (Note: Costco and Orchard Drug do not carry brand name Prozac).
Thus, an individual filling a prescription at a Costco pharmacy in Utah could save as much as $113 or 20percent over the highest price Utah pharmacy (Rite Aid). United States websites offer savings; however,the amount depends on the local pharmacies available to the consumer and the cost of shipping and han-dling. A person electing to purchase prescriptions from Canada via the internet, which is not legal undercurrent U.S. law, may be able to save up to 40% once shipping and handling is added. 100mg/60 16mg/50mcg Canada Discount Rx Costco Wholesale Online Costco Wholesale Costco Wholesale Costco Wholesale Drugstore.com Orchard Drug Walgreens.com Eckerd.com Wal-Mart Peterson Pharmacy K-Mart Pharmacy K-Mart Pharmacy Bateman Pharmacy Wal-Mart Walgreens Walgreens Walgreens Wal-Mart Wal-Mart Wal-Mart 100mg/60 16mg/50mcg Wal-Mart Canyon View Pharmacy K-Mart Pharmacy Nephi Professional Pharmacy Terrace Pharmacy Albertsons Albertsons Albertsons Albertsons Albertsons Albertsons Albertsons Albertsons Rite Aid Pharmacy 100mg/60 16mg/50mcg Diff. High/Low All Diff. High/Low exluding Canadian Drugs Diff. High/Low excluding all web sites
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