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Friday, June 3, 2011

CVS Generic Ripoff

Admittedly, this information is over a year old, but it was true then, and for all I know it still is.  If I'd had a blog then, I would have blogged about it.

I went to CVS to get some generic prozac (i.e. fluoxetine) for my depressed dog.  I had previously bought it at Wal-Mart for $12 for a 3-month supply.  That's what generic drugs are supposed to cost.  But CVS was charging $58 for a 2 month supply.  Unless Walmart is losing a lot of money on its generic prescriptions, that means that CVS is marking things up by over 700%.  And of course, they refused to price match.  It would be very interesting to know who gets to keep the extra $50 dollars they get on every bottle sold.

So the lesson is that CVS will not hesitate to rip you off on prescription drugs.  Take your business to Wal-Mart or Target, both of which have long lists of generic drugs that they sell at true generic prices.  Or, if CVS has changed its policy, and is now selling fluoxetine at a reasonable price) let me know.

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Ok, the original idea of this blog was just to document my personal experiences.  But I suppose I should probably do a little research to see if my experiences have been shared/observed by others.  And it turns out the CVS generic ripoff is well-plowed ground -- it's been a problem for consumers (and a cash cow for CVS) for many years.  Here's something from that documents the practice back to 2003.

The snopes article says that Costco gives fair prices for generic drugs, unlike CVS and Walgreens.  As mentioned above, so do Target and WalMart.  I'm fairly sure Sam's Club and KMart are fair too.  Snopes credits Detroit Channel 7 news investigative reporter Steve Wilson for bringing the problem to light.  So why hasn't it stopped?

More related links:
 gives a list (as of 2004) of what the various active ingredients of key drugs cost. gives some very disingenuous quotes from CVS in reaction to WalMart's plan to offer cheaper generic drugs.  CVS says these drugs are only a fraction of their sales, and also suggests that WalMart plan won't save seniors much money,. since their copayments are generally pretty low.  But that raises the question of whether insurance companies -- and Medicare -- are truly so stupid as to pay CVS's inflated prices.  If so, why?