Independent Review Finds Independent Pharmacies Offer Better Drug Pricing than Larger Competitors

Prices vary significantly between small and large pharmacies, study finds

Alia Paavola - Tuesday, March 5th, 2019 Print | Email

Consumers could save up to $5,400 a year by price shopping for their medications, according to a new studypublished by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

For its survey, the research group called more than 250 pharmacies in diverse cities and regions in 11 states to determine the price uninsured patients would pay for 12 drugs that treat asthma, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Four key findings:

1. Eight of the 12 drugs, or two-thirds of them, had higher median prices of 8 percent to 840 percent at large pharmacy chains in comparison to smaller, independent pharmacies.

2. For the Lantus Solostar insulin injector pen, the research group found that although the average cost of the pen was $445 per month, a patient could spend as little as $96 per month depending on the pharmacy location.

3. In Ohio, the research group found the same inhaler being sold for $11.99 at one pharmacy and $1,136 at a different one. In North Carolina, a generic medicine to lower cholesterol could cost $7 or $393 depending on where it was purchased.

4. By shopping around, patients could save a total of $102 per year on hypertension medications and as much as $5,400 a year on an inhaler, based on the median prices of the surveyed medications.

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