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Shopping around for medications can save families thousands

A large amount of bills spread all over the place

Consumers can save thousands of dollars a year by shopping around for pharmacies and medications, according to a new report published by Oregon State Public Interest Research Group. Researchers called more than 200 pharmacies in 11 states to ask about medication prices. What they discovered was shocking.

Many pharmacies offered the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor for between $300 and $800 a treatment course, researchers found. However, Atorvastatin, a generic alternative, was available for roughly $7 a treatment course. These findings highlight the complexity and the high costs of our health care system. In this instance, a consumer could save thousands of dollars a year by switching from Lipitor to Atorvastatin.

The study says consumers should ask their doctors and pharmacists for generic alternatives to their medications. They also should check with multiple pharmacies before buying their medications. The study found that smaller pharmacies tended to have lower prices.

Do you or a loved one struggle to pay for medications? Have you ever tried shopping around for prescriptions or pharmacies? Share your tips with Voices for Affordable Health.