Friday, June 27, 2008


Let’s talk about drugs. Just say no. That pretty much covers our take on buying recreational drugs. What about the prescription kind? The kind you get from your kindly neighborhood pharmacist in exchange for enough dosh to buy a used car... At CHEAPIOSITY, we say no to paying retail for everything, including your prescription drugs. (Surprise! Surprise!) But how? Well, sit back and we'll tell you. Not too far back unless you've lost your reading glasses.

The drug companies are sticking it to us, the typical American consumer. They pass along their development costs to us, not to mention the expenses of all those junkets and perks they offer doctors for prescribing their products. It’s amazing how exactly the same drug made by the very same manufacturer costs less in Canada or other countries around the world. We don't advocate your relocating to another country even though we're tempted by the promise of universal health care and cheap prescriptions. Still, we're pretty sure we'd miss our Mom, baseball, and apple pie, and we're pretty sure you would too. To be precise, you probably wouldn't miss our mom all that much. Odds are you might miss yours more.

So let’s see how we can save money given our residency and commitment to stay stateside, at least until the election. (You remember the episode of Dallas when Pam discovered Bobby in the shower? We're kind of hoping Inauguration Day 2009 holds in store a similar do-over potential for our nation and the world.)

Anyway. Drugs. (See, kids? This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Drug use can lead to unwanted digressions and tangents.) If you're lucky enough to have a prescription drug plan or are covered by your health insurance or Medicare, then you’re getting some relief. There are other options: 

Walmart, CVS, RiteAid, Target, and some supermarket pharmacies offer some generic drugs at the bargain basement price of $4.00-$9.00, depending on the drug. Costco and Walmart seem to have the lowest drug prices in general (not including the specially priced drugs already mentioned.) Call and check the prices and compare. Here's something you probably didn't know. You don’t need a Costco membership to buy in their pharmacy.

Here's something else to consider. If you go to Costco to fill your prescriptions and impulsively buy something you didn't intend to buy while you're waiting, those savings are gone. They bank on your impulsivity in those warehouse stores. Why do you think they keep the toilet paper and milk all the way in the back?

Mail Order is another way to go, but you should be careful. BUYER BEWARE. The National Association of Boards Pharmacy (NABP) provides a list of approved mail order pharmacies, so always look for their logo to be sure you’re not using one of those phony places that jam our emailboxes with Viagra offers. Because of lower overhead, legitimate mail order pharmacies are able to offer better prices.

We know that many savvy consumers buy their drugs from Mexico or Canada. We don’t feel comfortable endorsing this practice because of all the horror stories we’ve read about and seen on the news. That said, the State of Minnesota, which borders Canada, has a drug plan, so check out their website for details (in some cases you need not be a resident):

If those haven’t offered you enough savings, check with your local community-based Clinics. Very often they provide drugs at little or no cost.

Lastly, if you are prescribed any high priced drug, it is well worth your time to contact the Pharmaceutical Company that manufactures that drug directly; you may be eligible for a cost saving program for that specific drug. You won't know unless you ask.

And hey, the best way to save money on prescription drugs. Don't need them. Stay healthy. Eat smart. Exercise. Sleep. Have good genes. Choose your parents and ancestors wisely. Good luck.

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