For the last 30 years, Marina Tsaplina has taken insulin to survive.
“I take anywhere between probably six to 10 injections per day, depending on what I need,” she says. “Certainly any time before I eat and any time I need to adjust my blood sugar.”
Living with type 1 diabetes and no health insurance, Tsaplina bought a year’s supply of insulin in Canada, because she can't afford to buy it here in the U.S.
“The insulin alone would be about from $900 to $1,100,” she says.
New research shows drug prices can vary greatly depending on the pharmacy.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund surveyed more than 250 pharmacies in 11 states on prices for 12 common drugs. It found consumers could save anywhere from $100 to $5,000 a year, simply by shopping around.
“On average, over nine times the lowest price could be charged for a prescription drug that many people take,” says Lance Kilpatrick with U.S. PIRG.
The study found chain pharmacies like CVS tend to have higher prices than mom-and-pop pharmacies.
“Eight of the 12 drugs that we surveyed, mom-and-pop shops and small chain pharmacies actually had less expensive prices than the big chains,” Kilpatrick says.
That's why U.S. PIRG says you should compare at least five pharmacies and try shopping online.
Sites like Goodrx.com helps consumers find the best prices in your area. Pharmacychecker.com connects with verified Canadian pharmacies, since Canadian drugs are often cheaper. Additionally, Blinkhealth.com offers good pricing for generic drugs.
With 1 in 4 Americans struggling to afford their prescription drugs, a little legwork now can save you a lot of money in the long run.