Retail Race for the Cheapest Drugsby Tim Manni
Since Wal-Mart’s inception of the four-dollar prescription in 2006, discount retailers across the country have been forced to match price cuts on prescriptions in order to compete.
Like every other discount retailer, Costco has followed closely behind Wal-Mart’s lead, offering their members a wide range of inexpensive pharmaceuticals. Costco’s new prescription incentive allows non-insured members and their dependents to receive discounts on medications. Costco reports that more than 100,000 of its members have enrolled in the Costco Membership Prescription Program (CMPP). To qualify for the CMPP, beneficiaries must be Costco members with no drug insurance coverage. All brand name and generic drugs are covered under the program. The retailer says the program is designed for new employees whose medical coverage has not yet begun, or part-time employees that do not qualify for medical coverage, recent college grads, and small business owners.
While the savings are not always substantial, Costco claims that CMPP customers will always pay less than if they paid cash at a pharmacy. Average savings are between three and five dollars per prescription, but could be as much as $15 to $50.
Just this week, Kmart expanded the number of prescription drugs they offer to 500, from 300, as well as cutting prices on 90-day prescriptions from $15 to $10.