The Value of Prescription Drug Comparison Shopping: An Illustration


A newspaper in Cleburne, Texas, outside Dallas, has published an excellent illustration of a point we’ve been making since we launched it’s well worth the effort to comparison shop for prescription drugs. An excerpt from the article:

Seven local pharmacies were contacted in an effort to discover what an uninsured consumer would pay for four random, common prescription medications. None of the 28 total prices reported by the pharmacies were equal in amount. One of the prescriptions varied in price by more than $39 depending on where it was filled.

The medications inquired about were a Advair Diskus 250/50mcg inhaler, used to treat asthma-related conditions; 0.5mg Alprazolam, the generic form of Xanax, used to reduce anxiety; Tramadol 50mg, the generic form of Ultram, a pain reliever; and Lexapro 20mg, an antidepressant.

The price of one 250/50mcg Advair Diskus inhaler, used to treat asthma-related conditions, at Keene Pharmacy is set at $201.10 while Kroger’s pharmacy sells the same inhaler for $240.79. At Wal-Mart Supercenter’s pharmacy, a 30-day supply of the pain reliever Tramadol is $4 but it sells for $28.50 at Cleburne Drug.

Some of the pharmacies can afford to sell generic forms of brand name medications at a fixed low price, such as Wal-Mart’s $4 prescription program. .. Kroger has a similar $4 program for generics. Although the cost of an Advair Diskus at Kroger was high compared with other pharmacy prices, Kroger sells Tramadol for $24.50, less than the identical dose and form sold at Cleburne Drug…

Walgreens and CVS, both well-known pharmacies across the U.S., were two of the more expensive pharmacies for the uninsured of the seven local pharmacies contacted. Both … offer saving cards for the uninsured. An uninsured consumer would pay more than $17 less for a 30 day supply of Lexapro, which has no generic form, and $29 less for the Advair Diskus, which also has no generic, with a Walgreens saving card…

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If you click the links in the excerpt above, you’ll see a comparison of prices for these medications at member pharmacies. You’ll find that:

  • The Advair Diskus 250/50mcg inhaler is available for less than $70 at several pharmacies;
  • Tramadol 50mg is available for about half of Wal-Mart’s price, if bought in quantity;
  • Lexapro 20mg is available for between $1.50 and $2 per tablet, also significantly less than Wal-Mart and other U.S. retailers;
  • The fourth drug, a controlled substance, is not sold through member pharmacies.

In other words, if you can find the drug at, you can probably buy it for a lot less than anywhere in Cleburne, Texas — or at any brick-and-mortar drugstore in the U.S., for that matter.

So please, comparison shop — but don’t forget to include licensed online pharmacies in your search.

About Cary Byrd

eDrugSearch founder, Cary Byrd, has been called an “e-health innovator” by MarketIntellNow, interviewed by top pharmaceutical industry journalists, invited to Matthew Holt’s Health 2.0 Conference and a Consumer Report's health summit, and highlighted on numerous health blogs.

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0 thoughts on “The Value of Prescription Drug Comparison Shopping: An Illustration

  • Annie Alexander says:

    I am sure that I am not the only member or this online community who appreciates the efforts that edrugsearch goes through to bring the consumer the best deal on prescriptions that are also safe.

  • Comparison shopping for medications is something many people don’t think to do but there can be huge differences in prices offline as well as online. Especially for the more expensive prescriptions or ones that will be needed long term, comparing prices can save you a lot of money.

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