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Home  -> Financial Planning   ->   Save Money -> Prescription Costs

Prescription Prices are not Equal!

Pharmacies may charge different dispensing fees, and drug prices.  Here are the results of a survey done in 2011 of 5 pharmacies in one BC city for the same prescription, also showing how much you might pay if your prescriptions were covered by BC's PharmaCare Plan.  It's now 2022, but the differences would probably be similar now.

Store # Drug
pays *
1 $88.07 $5.98 $94.05 $94.05 nil 
2 $91.13 $6.48 $97.61 $97.61 nil 
3 $92.49 $6.98 $99.47 $98.47 $1.00
4 $92.19 $8.49 $100.68 $99.98 $0.70
5 $103.38 $8.99 $112.37 $100.09 $12.28

* BC PharmaCare (in 2011) would pay up to $91.49 for the drug cost, and up to $8.60 dispensing fee - this is once you have reached your family annual maximum, after which your coverage is 100% of the prescription cost.

Provincial drug plans set maximum prices that they will pay for eligible drugs.  Any excess charged by a more expensive pharmacy will not be covered.

As you can see, there can be a BIG difference in price between pharmacies, so it may pay to shop around.  However, if the cheapest pharmacy requires a long drive, make sure you're not spending the difference in gas to get there!  Also, there's something to be said for having a pharmacist that you know and trust, and who knows your medical issues.  This can often be worth the extra amount paid.

If you are covered by extended health benefits, most of the cost will be paid by your plan, but if you have an annual or a lifetime maximum you may reach those limits much earlier by shopping at the expensive pharmacy.

Check out all of our ideas for saving money and building wealth!

Tax Tips:

 - Compare prescription prices - both drug costs and dispensing fees.

 - Keep in mind the benefit of having a pharmacist you know and trust!

Revised: October 26, 2023


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