11 Cheap Generic Drug Programs That Will Save You Money

Here at the Consumerist we’d like you to save money. That’s why we’ve put together a handy list of those $4 generic drug programs that you’ve been hearing about. We hope this list will make it easier for you to locate the store that has the best deal on all your medications. If your local grocery store is doing a similar program and we missed it, please add a link to the comments. If you need help researching the medicines, we recommend Consumer Reports’ excellent site Best Buy Drugs. Enjoy!

Store & Drug List
Deal
Wal-Mart
$4 30 Day/ $10 90 Day
Target
$4 30 Day/ $10 90 Day
Dominick’s/Safeway
$4 Generics
Kroger
$4 30 Day/ $10 90 Day
Fred Meyer
$4 30 Days/ $10 90 Days
Giant Foods
$9.99 90 Days
Ralphs
$4 30 Days/ $10 90 Days
QFC
$4 30 Days/ $10 90 Days
Meijer
Free Antibiotics (w/Prescription)
Kmart
$15 90 Days
Walgreens
$12.99 90 days

(Photo: Ben Popken )

Comments

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  1. amyschiff says:

    Meijer rules.

  2. Zyzzyva100 says:

    Wegman’s has a 90 day supply for certain generics @ $11.99.
    [www.wegmans.com]

  3. bohemian says:

    Hyvee grocery stores also have a $4 drug program. They had a few drugs that Target does not, like simvistatin. Target also will price match drugs according to the pharmacist at ours.

    I also found out that our Blue Cross plan will pay on $4 drugs since it is a percentage based copay. So instead of $4 they are $1.

  4. attheotherbeach says:

    If you take HCTZ (a common blood pressure medicine), ask your pharmacist for the retail price. I get 90 days for under $4 at CVS.

  5. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    HEB stores (Texas and elsewhere) “Platinum Plan”:

    - 5 dollars for 30-day and 10 dollars for 90-day, 5 dollars enrollment.
    - 500 drugs for 5 dollars, and 500 more for 50 dollars or less. (Jebus, they store a thousand medications plus back there?)
    - Can add a pet to the plan if the veterinarian prescribes “human” drugs. (This would have come in handy for me for my sick cat a few years ago, who was on Lasix and a couple other things.)

    Link: [www.heb.com]

  6. Bladefist says:

    I’ve never been on medication, can somebody explain this. You pay like $5 for 30 days? So like 30 pills? huh?

  7. Dobernala says:

    Its a sneaky plot to get your mom on more pills from Rite Aid.

    Yes, this is a dumb complaint. Get over it. If your mom is that fragile, I hope she doesn’t own a TV or a radio. Sounds like a straightjacket and a padded cell might be appropriate.

  8. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @Bladefist: In my experience, if you take a pill four times a day for 30 days, it’s 120 pills, a 30-day supply, 5 dollars if it’s covered by HEB’s plan.

  9. Bladefist says:

    @speedwell: Cool. Sounds like an awesome deal. Do these retail stores just eat it? I don’t understand who is paying for all of this? Or are they just cheaper medicine.

  10. Jones91 says:

    okay guys… your letting me down, you forgot about Sleepy, you know that guy down on main street? hes open from 1-3am his drugs are better

  11. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @Bladefist: Most of the cheaper drugs are the commonest ones, for which decent generics exist, and since there’s no patent protecting generics, competition can exist and drive down prices. The rest are just super-common brand names that are so widely prescribed that they are produced and purchased in volume.

    The stores that offer these programs are losing a little profit, but not much. They’re essentially getting a bargain on goodwill and non-prescription business. I know I think more highly of my HEB for offering (and enthusiastically promoting) the program, and I buy three quarters of my groceries there. Whole Foods gets most of the rest, but I’m a vegetarian and I eat weird vegetarian food.

  12. wcnghj says:

    Hannaford Supermarkets in New England does this.

    [www.hannaford.com]

  13. aidenn says:

    Publix does the free antibiotics too!

  14. aidenn says:

    aidenn: http://www.publix.com

    Dork, forgot the link.

  15. balthisar says:

    Someone care to enlighten me? How do these programs work? I have insurance, so my co-pays at any store are cheap. Do I just show up at Kroger, not give them my insurance information, and get cheap generic drugs with my prescription? If they’re not billing my insurance company, then are these programs just big loss-leaders for the respective stores? If they do require insurance, then what’s the point? Maybe for people with high co-pays or a deductible? Then for people with deductibles, this is just putting off the inevitable, since you have to spend $250 or $3000 dollars before your insurance even kicks in.

  16. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @attheotherbeach: Ansolutely right and I can verify that. I also take HCTZ (hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic used for high blood pressure and a few other things) and the pharmacist sells it to me off my insurance because it actually costs far less than my co-pay.

  17. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @balthisar: Read the link I posted for HEB’s plan for one example of how they work it. In very brief, is appears to be independent of your insurance. If you have a medical savings plan that puts aside money from your paycheck, though, you might be able to be reimbursed for your out-of-pocket cost.

  18. battra92 says:

    @Bladefist: Good old fashioned capitalism. :)

    Kind of like how Claritin is $10 for 30 capsules and the generic is $3-$4 for 30 capsules.

  19. Bladefist says:

    @battra92: I was content w/ our health care before I knew about this. Now, I’m really wondering why everybody is bitching. Seems like a fantastic deal. As it gains popularity (IE: I didn’t know about it) it could really change the pricing structure of medicine here. If everybody is trying to under cut everybody else. It’s beautiful.

  20. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: It’s certainly a welcome change, but it’s only likely going to become common for the more widely-prescribed drugs, where there is more competition and sales volume. The problem is that there are plenty of more rare or unusual ones, and this won’t help for those. And the people who are on those are the ones who really need the financial help the most, since those tend to be the really expensive drugs. It’s not that big of a deal if an antibiotic now costs $4 instead of $15. It would be a huge deal if some medicine for a chronic illness suddenly cost $100/month instead of $1000.

  21. MisterPink says:

    Table was incorrect on one account. Walgreens is $12.99 for a 90 day supply, not 30 days.

  22. HeartBurnKid says:

    @Bladefist: I’ll agree with you that this is a good thing, but keep in mind that this has only come about in the past year (and it’s the one thing that I’ll thank Wal-Mart for). Plus, as johnva mentioned, this is generally for only the really common stuff, and I doubt any sort of controlled substances (e.g. the Dalmane my mom takes to sleep every night) are going to show up on the list of $4 drugs.

  23. HeartBurnKid says:

    @battra92: Man, where do you shop? The places I go, those prices are for 10 capsules, not for 30. Well, except for Costco, anyway; I actually got my Costco card just so I could get their bottles of 300 generic Claritin for 12 bucks.

  24. battra92 says:

    @Bladefist: Yeah, it’s awesome for those it helps.

    My parents are on high blood pressure meds. I should check out what they take and if they could do this outside of insurance all the better (might get a better rate on insurance or something)

  25. battra92 says:

    @HeartBurnKid: Wal*Mart in Western MA. It was a smidge under $3 for 30 capsules Loratadine.

    You’re still getting it cheaper though (4 cents as opposed to 10) but I don’t have to take it year ’round (just as needed she said) and since pollen count is down I’ve been ok.

  26. rubella says:

    Walgreens is $12.99 for a 90 day supply, not 30. But you have to join the Prescription Savings Club first, which is $20 for a year. However you can turn it into a family plan for another $15. Also, many pet medicines are covered. Even if your medicine isn’t on the $12.99 list there are still probably substantial savings compared to cash price.

  27. SabrinaFaire says:

    Baker’s
    [www.bakersplus.com]

    Which is owned by Kroger

  28. stuckonsmart says:

    See article entitled — “The Health Insurance Mafia”– April 14, 2008 Wall Street Journal by a physician who REALLY explains how WORTHLESS and ECONOMICALLY DANGEROUS the health insurance industry is.

    An excerpt here:
    “The health insurance model is closest to the parasitic relationship imposed by the Mafia and the like. Insurance companies provide nothing other than an ambiguous, shifty notion of “protection.” But even the Mafia doesn’t stick its nose into the process; once the monthly skim is set, Don Whoever stays out of the picture, but for occasional “cost of doing business” increases. When insurance companies insinuate themselves into the system, their first step is figuring out how to increase the skim by harming the people they are allegedly protecting through reduced service.”

    A VERY ENLIGHTENED PERSPECTIVE!

  29. othertim says:

    1) It’s not every single drug that is available generically. Newer generics may take some time to make these lists. It’s mostly the things that have been generic forever and are cheap as dirt. These stores are losing a considerable amount of margin in the hopes that you’ll buy something else.

    2) If you’re taking higher dosages of a medication than normal, it will probably be a few bucks more. Some people take, say, 3-4 tablets a day of something that the standard $4/month supply is only 30 or 60 tablets, so they’d pay a bit more.

    3) Yeah, nobody’s lists seem to contain controlled substances, or they’d get all the addicts/pill sellers and it would get a bit out of hand.

  30. attheotherbeach says:

    It is nice to see one segment of the economy where prices are dropping.

  31. NotAppealing says:

    Meijer has free prenatal vitamins, as well. You do need a prescription.

  32. Groovymarlin says:

    Costco has a program like this ([www.envisionrx.com]) but it’s only open to members who don’t have health insurance.

  33. CaptZ says:

    I wish someone would offer discounted insulin and syringes……

    I spend about $80 a month on those…..

  34. LogicalOne says:

    @balthisar: In my experience, sometimes these programs are even cheaper than the insurance prescription drug plans. For instance, under a plan I was covered under, a 30 day supply was a $10-$15 co-pay with the insurance plan, but only $4 at Target. At Target, they’ll price it both ways and give me the cheaper price.

  35. BytheSea says:

    BTW, do make sure that the store you’re going to has your med in their program before you go. Also, remember that when you buy cheap, you’re forfeiting service, so don’t expect them to go to any extra measures to make sure you don’t die. Keep note of the times the pharmacy is open and get your refillls well in advance of when you’ll need them.

  36. Bravest343 says:

    Lot’s of you have valid points, but do you have to get so radical about the issue at hand. Let’s face it, pharmacutical companies are making multi billion dollars trying to come up with some sort of new medication every day. In the long run, the ones who whind up paying the price is the consumer. Another issue is how quick doctors grab their prescription pads and write out a prescription for you that might not even be on your insurance formulary; meaning you may have to pay hundreds of dollars out of you’re own pocket. Healthcare is a major issue, and I am one who is willing to step up and fight for what’s right!!!!!!!

  37. tlingitsoldier says:

    Wal-Mart specifically told me that narcotics (controlled substances) are intentionally left out of the $4 generic plan. That makes it a hassle for someone like me who has chronic back pain.

  38. ExtraCelestial says:

    Slutty people rejoice!!