Sometimes it is Worth Repeating.

Posted on March 31st, 2020 by Medipac

It is not normal for a magazine to recommend reading a different magazine but, in this case, I believe that it is worth it. Most of our readers are taking some form of drug and, statistics say, the average person older than 65 takes more than five drugs every day. On the other side of the equation, drug side-effects are one of the most common reasons for illness and hospitalization, especially in seniors.

The magazine is Consumer Reports. I have subscribed for many years and it is one of the very, very few magazines which I read. The information is direct, unbiased and very useful. In the May 2018 issue, tucked away at the back, was the story “How to Pay Less for Your Meds” and it astounded me. The difference in prices between various stores was “remarkable,” to use Consumer Reports’ word.

I want to give you a sample comparison on a 30-day supply of a few common drugs:

Drug                            Cheapest Source                    $$        Most Expensive Source         $$

Actos (30mg)              Costco                                     $16      CVS/Target                             $270

Celebrex (200mg)       Costco                                     $26      Walgreens                               $204

Cymbalta (20mg)        Sam’s Club                             $31      Walgreens                               $251

Lipitor (20mg)              Costco                                     $13      CVS/Target                             $135

Plafix (75mg)              Costco                                     $16      CVS/Target                             $141

Consumer Reports also mentioned as the lowest overall online pricing and showed varying prices at grocery stores. For instance Celebrex on average at grocery stores was $189, but prices varied from $46 to $250. I expected Walmart to be inexpensive, but it was in the middle of the pack. Their Celebrex was $203. The independent drug store chains were a mixed bag of pricing, with Celebrex ranging from $11 (the cheapest) to $295 (the most expensive). It pays to shop around, obviously!

I have probably mentioned this before, but when I walked into a Publix to get an antibiotic prescription filled, they said that it was free. You cannot get better pricing than free.

Most drugs are overprescribed, as you well know, but have you done anything about it?

Speak to your doctor about stopping some drugs or reducing the dosages…they may no longer be necessary. A personal note about my mother – she was prescribed Prednisone and was kept on the drug for 10 years, with disastrous health results. She did not need it after two years but it was just part of her routine and her doctor just continued renewing her prescription, I guess. When she came to live with us she was taking 12 extra-strength Tylenol every day. I told her to stop taking them and ask me if she needed one for her pain. She never did ask and she was pain-free for most of the rest of her life.

Another comment relates to people in nursing homes and senior living complexes. They are almost universally overmedicated. Be an advocate for these people. Ask questions, ask “why,” understand their drug regimens. It could save their life and/or make it more comfortable for them – and probably save money too.

My thanks to Consumer Reports for allowing us to use some of their information (and you really should buy their excellent magazine).