A new pharmacy survey from Consumers Union found wide discrepancies in drug prices and a drop in patient consultations with pharmacists.
A Consumers Union survey of pharmacies and readers found wide variations in prices for some medications from pharmacy to pharmacy and that patients are now less likely to consult with pharmacists when picking up medications than before. In the survey, CU, publisher of Consumer Reports called 163 pharmacies and culled data from more 40,000 reader responses. The magazine found that prices for Plavix (clopidogrel, sanofi-aventis). which prevents blood clots, ranged from $382-$541 for a three-month supply. The survey found that Costco was the cheapest for four of the five drugs and that Walgreens and Rite-Aid were among the most expensive. In addition, in its survey of readers, the consumer organization found that only 38% of respondents asked pharmacists for advice on their medications, down from 50% in 2002. According to CU, approximately one-quarter of the 57,000 medicine-buying experiences were with pharmacy benefit managers.