Best Drugstore Deals, Save Money on Medicines

March 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Pain relievers, cold medicine, and drugs for heartburn -- Americans spend more than seven billion dollars a year on these over-the-counter medicines.Consumer Reports wanted to find out just where you can get the "best drugstore deals."

Jody Rohlena with Consumer Reports said, "We had shoppers compare prices at big chains like Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens. We also had them check out Target and Wal-Mart, as well as independent pharmacies."

At stores across the country, shoppers checked prices on over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines, as well as pain relievers and treatments for heartburn.

"We found that in every case, Target and Wal-Mart had the lowest prices," said Rohlena.

For example, a bottle of 30 Claritin Reditabs cost $24.70 at Walgreens, versus $19.41 at Wal-Mart. That's more than a five-dollar savings! And a 65-tablet bottle of Zantac 150 maximum strength heartburn tablets was $24.34 at an independent pharmacy, compared to $15.74 at Target! That's more than an eight-dollar savings!

And Consumer Reports found you can save even more if you buy store-brand over-the-counter medicines. Again, Wal-Mart and Target had the best prices. The savings are impressive.

Take Zantac 150 again. At Target it costs 24 cents per tablet. But the store brand is just seven cents a tablet - a fraction of the cost.


Where will you pay the most for over-the-counter medicine?

Consumer Reports found independent drugstores usually had the highest prices, but big national drugstore chains can charge just as much.