In April I went to my local CVS which my previous employer had used for in-network medicine provider. This was my first time purchasing my meds as a self-pay. I was floored when this one common prescription was $54.99. I picked it up at the drive thru and I asked the older portly man if he was sure the price was right. Previously all 3 of my meds were under $10 and this time it was over $100. Oh well, I figured just one of the many things I needed to learn about self-pay.
I went back in July was astounded to see such a sharp change in price down to $18.50. Then I went comparison shopping and learned two of my meds were on Wal-mart’s 90 days for $10 list (not the Zolpidem) but Zolpidem was seriously cheaper than CVS. So giving the independent a chance, I learned they were even better than Wal-mart on all three perscriptions, $9.30 for the other two and Zolpidem $10.40 at Realo.
So if my independent could make money selling at this price, what the heck CVS? I sent them a letter with a photo copy of all 3 receipts and asked for compensation for being obviously overcharged in April. I’m going to assume it was the store manager, told me on a phone call a few days after I sent the letter that, “Some of our employees know to scan a discount card for our self-pay customers and some don’t.” I replied “So, I’m out money because your employee doesn’t know your procedures.” To which she replied “There’s nothing I can.” And I finished “Well, I can. I’m leaving for your competitor.”
Hurray for capitalism! Different suppliers and generic drug manufacturers’ deals with pharmacies mean that drug prices vary a lot. If you’re self-paying at the pharmacy and no one offers you a discount card, ask. If the store doesn’t have one handy for all customers to use, they can probably tell you where to obtain a discount card of your own.