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saving money on OTC drugs

Updated on April 16, 2010

I unfortunately have several health problems. I have some prescriptions, but mostly I use over the counter (OTC) medicine. This wasn't necessarily my choice, my insurance company insisted. Most insurance companies won't pay for OTC drugs so switching to those drugs save them money. But it end up costing you money, sometimes quite a bit. So I am always on the lookout for bargains.

I take every day

Omeprazole (generic form of Prilosec) 20 mg for Acid Reflux

Ranitidine (generic form of Zantac) 150 mg for Acid Reflux

Loratadine (generic form of Claritin) 10 mg for hives (antihistamine)

I also take as needed

Simethicone (generic form of Phazyme) 180 mg

and sometimes I use Thermacare heat wraps.

All this can add up. So anything I can do to save money helps. I already take generics, which is a good first step for saving money. I have never had a problem using the generic form versus the brand name on an OTC medication.

The store I usually shop at is Walgreens, this is a good store. There are always some good sales, even on drugs. I have gotten my antihistamine on sale buy one get one free and Omeprazole (Walgreens Brand) goes on sale regularly. There were also so good sales on Prilosec, which I used before the Walgreens came out with a generic form.

But still it is too expensive, so I have gone looking for cheaper alternatives.

I found some good deals in a surprising place, Dollar Tree, a dollar store. I have gotten Loratadine 10 10 mg pills for a dollar. That is .10 cents a pill. This price is hard to beat. I also have gotten Simethicone for 12 for a dollar, this is .09 cents a pill. I regularly get Ranitidine 10 75 mg pills for a dollar. Since I take 150 mg I have to take 2, but that is still .20 cents a dose. And the dollar store doesn't always have what I need, it is pretty hit and miss. That being said, you should check out the dollar store. I have also gotten Ibuprofen, migraine medication and other medication there, and I have always been satisfied with the quality.

Another surprising place I have found some good deals is Amazon. I have bought books and DVDs from there but I didn't realize they have OTC medication until I stumbled across it. You save money by buying in bulk so it isn't worth it for drugs you only need once in awhile. But my conditions are chronic so buying in bulk makes sense for me. Some of the drugs you can get with ship shipping also. Amazon is definitely worth checking out.

I have done an informal comparison on the drugs I take regularly between Walgreens, Dollar Tree and Amazon and the results are below.

Loratadine 10 mg

package cost
dosage cost
30 doses at .50 cents
walgreens regular sale
30 doses at .34 cents
dollar tree
10 doses at .10 cents
300 doses at .06 cents

Ranitidine 150 mg

24 doses at .33
walgreens regular sale
48 doses at .17
dollar tree
5 doses at .20
190 at .07

Omeprazole 20 mg

42 doses at .55
walgreen regular sale
42 doses at .45
dollar tree
42 doses at .70

These result were for the generic form only. I don't use a brand name if I can help it. You just end up paying a lot of money for the advertising. So Amazon won for 2 out of the 3 drugs. That is where I get those medications now. But it is hard to beat Walgreens generic form of Prilosec. There are some times even better sales and I really stock up.

As far as Simethicone, I always just buy the generic form when I see it at the dollar store, there is no way anyone can match that low price, since I don't use it often and don't want to really stock up.

Last is heat wraps, but they really need some more explanation, so go to the link below for my comparison.


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      happyasamom 5 years ago

      you can now find omeprazole on ebay. The cheapest I have found was .15 per pill. Also you can go to and order directly from them and they will deliver to your local store for free. I have bought my husbands shaving cream there. Hope this helps

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      scout901 6 years ago

      Good to know, we don't have Dollar General, but we do have Family Dollar, which is pretty much the same and I think the prices are close. I trust the medication at the discount stores, again, as long as you check the expiration date.

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      Mz 6 years ago

      Here in Missouri, a box of 72 generic simethicone 125 mg softgels is $3.75 at Dollar General.

    • profile image

      scout901 6 years ago

      I have used the brand and I found it works as well as other generics. But I would say be careful with expiration dates, I am sure no one at the store ever checks them.

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      Dollargirl 6 years ago

      I actually just want to be sure that dollar tree medication brand can

      Be trusted!?