those charged by most veterinarians
or any of the online pet-med suppliers.
Another point of savings with both
current and new prescriptions is the
Costco Member Prescription Program
(CMPP), a Costco-member-only program
for those who have no prescription drug
coverage through any insurance plan.
(See "Consider cash" below.) Since pets
are not eligible under their owner’s
medical plan, essentially they are uninsured and qualify for CMPP. Your
Costco pharmacy will automatically initiate CMPP for your pet prescription,
and you will get the lowest possible
Costco price for that medication.
A prescription for businesses
Costco Pharmacy online
Costco.com enhances the warehouse pharmacy program by providing
one-stop, 24-hour shopping convenience and privacy for prescription and
over-the-counter medications. Deliveries are made anywhere in the U.S.
“Our online pharmacy also provides a convenient auto-refill option for
having your recurring prescriptions
filled and shipped automatically,” says
Chris Pierce, pharmacist and assistant
Other popular online functions
include a pricing guide, free ground
shipping for prescriptions (one national
retailer tacks on
$1.95 per ship-
status link and
can now refill
pickup and check the status of orders
using a smartphone or tablet. A
national consumer magazine recently
rated the Costco app best (in regard to
pharmacy) for checking drug prices and
other info, allowing members to com-
pare prices and research options. The
free app is available for Android and
Apple devices.—T. Foster Jones
IF YOU’RE A business owner, Costco has a
program that can save your company and
employees money on prescription drugs.
The program, offered through Costco
Health Solutions, offers prescription medicines through Costco’s in-warehouse pharmacies or through a network of 64,000
independent pharmacies that have agreed to
pre-negotiated prices. The program follows
Costco’s approach for all its products and services: Prescription drugs are sold for a small
price above cost.
Also, any rebates offered by the manufacturer are passed on to the purchaser at the
point of sale. The result: significant savings
for participants in the program, typically 10 to
15 percent over other prescription drug
plans—and sometimes more.
“The Costco Pharmacy adheres to the
same Costco philosophy as other areas of our
business; we keep a tight rein on expenses, take
lower markups and pass discounts and rebates
from manufacturers to our members at time of
purchase,” says Chris Pierce, the Costco assistant vice president who oversees the program.
Participants in the program also get
access to the other services offered at Costco’s
in-warehouse pharmacies, including clinical
services, walk-up immunization services and
free health screenings.
For Nippon Paper Industries USA, a
200-employee company based in Port
Angeles, Washington, the Costco program
has meant savings and convenience. Cathy
Price, the company’s human resources manager, says her company’s cost of pharmacy
services is down by 43 percent compared to
the program they formerly used.
The company bases its pharmacy premiums for employees on actual costs. That means
savings are passed on to employees in the form
of lower co-pays and the price of medicines.
“The savings have been phenomenal,”
Price says. “It’s proven very valuable to us in
our benefits program. I’d recommend it to
To learn more about the program and
what’s needed to set it up, visit www.costco.com
and search for “prescription insurance,” or call
toll-free 1-877-426-7680.—Tim Talevich
Check the “Pharmacy” page at Costco.
com for information on all pharmacy
services, drug pricing, health fair schedules, pharmacy locations and more.
IF YOU HAVE a drug benefit through your
insurance or Medicare plan, you probably
aren’t aware of the true cost of your medications, just the co-pay. Plus, your insurance provider has likely negotiated special pricing with
its preferred pharmacy, so that is where
you are getting your prescriptions
filled. But do you know if you’re
really getting the best price?
“We’ve heard of members
with Medicare Part D who
found that paying cash for
their prescriptions at Costco
was less than their co-pay at
another pharmacy,” says Vic
Curtis, Costco Pharmacy
senior vice president.
His advice: Check
with your Costco pharmacist for Costco’s cash price
for the medications you take
regularly, then check that price
against your current co-pay for
the same drugs. If Costco’s price is
lower, just switch your prescriptions to Costco. You could be saving money.
If you don’t have a drug benefit or lack
medical insurance, the Costco Member
Prescription Plan (CMPP) is for you. By signing up, Costco becomes your preferred pharmacy and offers special reduced pricing on
select medications, both branded and generic.
“For example,” notes Vic, “the cash price
for Bayer Contour 100 strips, used by diabetics, is currently $108.97,” while CMPP members pay $56.66. The exact amount of savings
per drug can vary and usually ranges
between 2 and 3 percent, he adds, but
can be significantly more.
If you have insurance, but all
your medications aren’t covered,
you can still take advantage of CMPP
for those medications that aren’t
included in your plan.
Added bonuses: Pet medications
are also covered under
macy and offers special reduced pricing on
your medications aren’t covered
included in your plan.