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Prescriptions and Your Pocketbook: An AARP Pennsylvania Study

To see what a consumer in Pennsylvania might encounter when trying to buy very common prescription medications, AARP had professional market researchers call 587 pharmacies in five of the state's counties (Allegheny, Blair, Lebanon, Lehigh, and Philadelphia). They asked for prices for a 30-day supply of Celebrex, Lipitor, Plavix, and Prilosec, and found that:

  • Prescription drug prices vary widely across Pennsylvania. The variation is most dramatic for Prilosec, where the 90th and 10th percentile prices vary by $26. The ranges of the three other drugs are more muted.
  • Pharmacies in urban areas have lower Plavix prices than those in non-urban areas; the prices of other drugs did not differ in this way.
  • Mega-discount and club stores frequently have lower prescription drug prices, and independent drugstores are competitive with chain outlets.

The survey was conducted in June and July 2002. FGI, Inc. collected the data and the report was prepared by Susan L. Silberman, Ph.D., of AARP Knowledge Management who may be contacted for further information at 202/434-6339. (77 pages)

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