$4 Prescriptions - What You Can Do if You Don't Have Enough Money for Food and Medicine
Saving Money on Prescriptions
I began this study when I was helping a friend who had just lost his prescription coverage on his health insurance.
Because my friend had high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and suffered from severe depression, he had a lot of expensive prescriptions that he had to have filled every month.
I advised him to shop at Wal-mart for the $4.00 prescriptions that were on his list; and, to get the rest from Costco.
He called me back about a month later and said that he had saved over $200.00 by following my advice.
As a relief pharmacist I have worked at many different chain and independent pharmacies. I discovered that Costco almost always had the best prices on most prescriptions, especially on generics.
Because of having had my own pharmacy for 17 years, I could tell that Costco usually bases their prescription prices on their acquistion cost, not on some percent-off of the brand name - which I consider to be an unfair practice - like most of the other chain pharmacies do.
Starting around November in 2006 Wal-Mart began to test-market selling many generic prescriptions for $4.00 for a 30 day supply. The tests were successful and Wal-Mart began to roll it out in several states.
The best list I can come up with currently indicates the plan is available in the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
This program is available at all Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and Neighborhood Market pharmacies, except in North Dakota (the pharmacies inside North Dakota Wal-Mart stores are leased and operated by third-party providers).
$4 prescriptions are for up to a 30-day supply of a covered drug at a commonly prescribed dosage. Your participation in certain prescription-drug plans may entitle you to pay even less than $4 for certain prescriptions. If you are eligible, you will be charged the lowest applicable amount. Certain drugs are priced higher in CA, CO, HI, MN, MT, PA, TN, WI, and WY due to state laws.
The list of covered drugs is subject to change. Not all prescription drugs are covered by this program.
Only prescriptions initially filled in person at a participating pharmacy are eligible for the $4 rate; refills must also be picked up in-store, but may be ordered in person, online or by phone. This program is not available for prescriptions filled by mail order. See your Wal-Mart pharmacist for more information.
** Discount pricing on certain prescriptions not available in CA, CO, HI, MN, MT, PA, TN, WI, and WY due to state laws at the date this is written.
A current list of the $4.00 prescriptions from Wal-Mart can be downloaded as a pdf file at
Costco did it for a while, then decided to alter the plan in some places to 100 tablets for $10.00. In most cases, this is actually a better deal on a per pill cost.
* Because of a ruling by the Board of Pharmacy in North Carolina, you don't have to be a member of Costco in order to get prescriptions from their pharmacy. I'm sure it's the same in many other states.
Many prescription insurance companies have $10 and $20 copays on generic prescriptions. In those cases you would be better off leaving the prescription card behind when it comes paying for the $4.00 prescriptions that we have been discussing.
I hope this helps a lot of people who are having to decide whether to buy food, or medicine, because they don't have enough money to get both.
You can also click on the following link for more information about other drug-related topics: Bob the Pharmacist.com
More by this Author
The Tornado - A few years ago, on a hot Sunday afternoon in August, I came as close to death as I ever care to.
You could miss seeing a mountain lion a broad-shouldered Brown Trout or one of the most beautiful homes in the world, if you drive too fast through the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
My new swing produces longer straigther golf shots and is similar to Steve Stricker's 'quiet hands' swing.