Are you paying too much for your prescriptions? We looked into some of the most popular women's health medications and found you could be saving a lot of money if you know where to look.
Prescription medications can cost you hundreds of dollars every month. OB/GYN Dr. Madelyn Butler of The Woman's Group, a Tampa obstetrics and gynecological care center, says her patients often ask if there is anything they can do to cut down the cost of medications.
"Price is always a concern," Dr. Butler said.
We compared prices of the top medications prescribed for women's health issues, according a report by health group IMS Health. At the top of the list is osteoporosis drug alendronate, also known as Fosamax. It's prescribed 13 million times a year.
"Osteoporosis is very, very common. We treat it a lot as gynecologists," Dr. Butler said.
We also looked at birth control pill loestrin, menopause drug estradiol, and medroxyprogesterone, used to treat menstrual problems. We compared prices at CVS, Target, Walgreens, Publix, Costco, and Walmart. We called multiple locations of each store and asked for prices for a month's supply of each medication. When possible, we asked for generic versions of the drugs.
We found that where you get your pills makes a big difference. Overall, Costco had the lowest prices. You do not need a Costco membership to use their pharmacy. A month's supply of the four drugs at Costco cost $38. The same four drugs cost $147 at Walgreens.
At Walmart, it cost $45 and at Publix, it was $74. CVS offered the medications for $139 and Target offered them for $140.
"I will tell patients to call around, to get 3 different quotes. Especially the self-pay patients," Dr. Butler said.
Most of the variation in prices came from alendronate, which varied in price from $10 to $85, depending on which pharmacy we asked.
At each pharmacy, each drug was priced differently. The lesson, experts say, is to shop around.
Asking for generic drugs can also drastically cut the cost of your medication. But make sure to check with your doctor first. Generic does not mean the product is identical to the brand-name medication.