Do You Use Prescription Medication?


Do you have an opinion about Walgreens?

I didn’t until my sudden cardiac arrest two months ago. Now I have an opinion, which is that, based on a extensive sample size of one (me), Walgreens drastically overcharges for prescription medication.  Many people would say “they ripped me off.”  Because I’m fairly laizze faire, I don’t think people are ripped off generally; they are ill-informed.  But I say Walgreens toed the line.

The day of my discharge, I stopped at Walgreens for prescription medications ordered by my cardiologist. I assumed Walgreens, the friendly neighborhood pharmacy with a national presence, would price their medication similarly to other stores that sell it.  I assumed wrongly.

And while you may be conversant in the prescription medication world, I am not. At least I wasn’t until …

… Walgreen’s charged me $92 for prescriptions I’ve now found elsewhere for about $30.  Charge me 10% more for a can of soda and I say “market principles”.  Charge me 200% more for medicine, and I’m angry.  And just for fun I Googled “Walgreens prescription drug price gouging” and came up with some interesting hits.

Do I think Walgreens is price gouging?  No–not according to my definition of price gouging, which is a temporary, excessive price inflation due to a sudden, temporary event.  (Think $10/gallon gas preceding a hurricane.)  And my experience was a single episode.  But it was a bitter pill to swallow upon learning of the price variance.  (Easy pun intended.)

(You’re probably thinking, “Boy, Dan, you are naive. EVERYONE knows to shop around for medication. Get with the program and stop whining.”)

I have three points here:

1) I don’t know as much about how the world works as I profess to;

2) Shop around for your prescription medications–even if you find yourself hurried to get them.

3) Watch out if you shop at Walgreens and beware their friendly, smiley pharmacists, who I’m certain are just doing their jobs while charging unsophisticated consumers–me included–excessive prices for important products.

That is all.


6 Comments on “Do You Use Prescription Medication?”

  1. Bob Moragues says:

    Hi Dan –

    Haven’t price shopped too much, but have looked for Pharmacies with decent staff.
    Hard to put a price on the screaming child with an ear infections (Anthony has had many) while the pharmacist explains why they didn’t call and tell you they were out of the meds…

    That being said, Walgreens is our current Pharmacy of choice for convenience and competence. We will probably mail order the more expensive drugs.

    Stay Healthy!


    • The DA Blog says:

      Hey Bob:

      Based on a couple of friends’ reactions, I’m fortunate not to have much experience with prescriptions. They did note that consumers pay for Walgreens’ convenience and service. So I’m more informed. I just couldn’t have imagined the price disparities would be so drastic. But I’m still young and naive!

      Otherwise, I feel really good. Doctors are pleased with everything. (I don’t tell them that I still eat Doritos.)

      Type at you later. Glad to hear from you.


  2. Debbie says:

    I’m not a fan of any prescription provider. I can tell you to check your insurance. They have a list of “preferred” drugs and pharmacies, so they are in conjunction with the providers/pharmacy to rip you off. It starts with the manufacturers, rolls to the Dr.’s and then escalates to the pharmacy. The whole process is a way to take advantage of the people who are in need. I’m off my soap box now.

  3. Thriller says:

    Hi DA, I’m glad to hear you are doing well!!! I saw your question on the prescriptions and asked my wife about this since she is basically in that “industry”. Here is her response:

    “I can tell you that Walgreen’s is one of the most expensive places—that’s why I only go there if it is after hours and necessary. I think Kmart is one of the best from studies I’ve seen (if there is one nearby for him) and I’ve had good luck with Target prices. If he’s taking a brand name drug (assuming that could be the case) he should also ask his doc if there is another formulary drug on his insurance company’s list that will work for him, but it will cost less through insurance (assuming he has insurance?)

    If he has insurance and the drugs he takes are daily drugs, he should look into using mail order, too. He can almost always save money that way and he gets a 90 day supply delivered to his home—doesn’t have to go to the pharmacy.

    If he doesn’t have insurance, he should talk with his doc about other lesser costing, equally effective drugs. The doc may not realize he pays for it all himself and some docs truly just prescribe what is new with the reps, not what might be best costing. I’ve also had this experience myself.”

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