is a prescription for
savings and service
Consumer reporter Pat
Volchok gives a behind-the-scenes look a t Costco
products and services.
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HIGH PRICES FOR prescription drugs
continue to infect many well-known pharmacies across the country. While some claim
there is no cure, I beg to differ. A healthy dose
of pharmaceutical savings and services is as
close as your nearest Costco warehouse or
online at the Costco.com pharmacy.
The value formula
Costco Pharmacy follows Costco’s highly
respected low-price/high-volume business
model by tightly controlling expenses, applying low markups and passing savings on to
consumers. The program is administered
within traditional pharmacy guidelines, and
allows only qualified, licensed pharmacists
and drugs approved by the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) in the amounts
prescribed by the physician.
Michael Mastromonica, a licensed pharmacist and assistant vice president of Costco
Pharmacy services, says, “We are committed to
work tirelessly on the patient’s behalf. This is
why we have found, even in this tough economy, that there is still an opportunity to offer
low prices and help all consumers save money
on their prescriptions. We’re particularly
pleased with our newly created and free-to-the-member Costco Member Prescription
Program [CMPP] with special pricing to assist
members who have no available insurance coverage for medications.”
Independent studies continue to support
Costco’s low-price claim. This past summer, a
highly respected consumer magazine compared the prices for a year’s supply of four
drugs (Alendronate®, Detrol®, Levoxyl® and
Plavix®) from 13 leading retailers/e-tailers.
Costco came out on top, with savings of up to
26 percent, or $340.
The same consumer magazine evaluated
the prices of five generic drugs at 132 pharmacies. The savings winner, by an even greater
margin, was again Costco Pharmacy.
Generic drugs, with marketing, research
and development costs no longer included,
are safe prescription alternatives. All generics sold at Costco warehouses and online at
Costco.com pharmacies are identical to
comparable name brands for active ingredients and are FDA approved.
Michael says generics are worth considering. “Sixty-five percent of all drugs sold at
Costco are generic,” he says. “Consider this:
The average price for a branded drug at Costco
is now $119.05; the average for a generic is
$18.59. We always encourage consumers to use
generics if they are available and appropriate.”