HOUSTON – There’s a new way to fill your prescription medication, and it could save you some money. Amazon jumped into the pharmacy business late last year with Amazon Pharmacy.
We wanted to know how prices with the internet retail giant compare to what you’ll pay at traditional pharmacies. This is what we learned:
Difficult to compare prices
If you have ever comparison shopped to find which pharmacy offers the lowest price for your medication, you know they don’t make it easy. You want to know if it’s cheaper with or without insurance, and sometimes the pharmacist won’t even tell you the cash price if you reveal that you have insurance. Getting these answers from Amazon Pharmacy is also not easy.
Pam Hubenak and her husband Glenn take a total of 4 prescription medications combined daily. The couple currently fills their prescriptions at Costco, saving money by ordering 90-day and 180-day refills.
They are also big Amazon shoppers, so they wanted to see if they could save some money by getting their refills with Amazon Pharmacy instead of Costco.
Pam created an account on Amazon Pharmacy. When you type in the last four digits of your social security number, the website finds your insurance.
You add the medications you need to refill and your prescriber’s information. This is where Pam hit a roadblock. Since she’s not due for a refill until next month, Amazon Pharmacy wouldn’t tell her how much she’ll pay. If you want to check prices with insurance, you need to wait until it’s time for a refill. An Amazon representative told KPRC 2 News Pam could call her insurance company to ask what her co-pay will be with Amazon Pharmacy. The price may not be exact, but it will be very close, according to the Amazon representative.
With insurance, Amazon Pharmacy’s prices were at least double or more than double what the Hubenaks pay Costco for three of their prescriptions.
Pioglitazone, for example, is more than five times the price at Amazon Pharmacy at $88.34 compared to Costco’s price of $17.10.
Amazon Pharmacy only fills prescriptions for a 30-day supply.
If you don’t have insurance, Amazon Pharmacy prices are lower for Prime members versus non-Prime customers.
If you have insurance, your Prime status won’t get a lower co-pay price. The biggest benefit is that you will get free two-day shipping if you are a Prime customer, but you won’t really save money.