Prescription for Prescription Bargains

OK, using the word "bargain" next to "prescription" may be a little too much in a world where some drugs cost hundreds of dollars per month. Still, if you're a regular buyer of prescription drugs, you'll want to go about your purchases in the most cost-effective manner.

You probably have a local pharmacy where you buy all your medications. Maybe it's a Walgreens (NYSE: WAG  ) , CVS (NYSE: CVS  ) , Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD  ) , or even your local supermarket or Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) . You may not realize it, but asking for a generic version isn't enough. Prices can vary widely from pharmacy to pharmacy in the same area. To get some specific examples, I tapped the services of, a website that compares prices of drugs in Florida. Here are some stats for Boca Raton:

  • For 40 mg of Nexium (quantity: 30), I found a price of around $140 at a Wal-Mart, $155 at a CVS, $267 at a Suncoast Pharmacy, and $173 at a Walgreens.
  • Between CVS and Walgreens, you could save $6 to $8 on an order of Singulair and $13 on an order of Zocor.

Another way to offset your net expenses on medications is to make some money on drugs -- by investing in drug-related firms such as drug wholesalers McKesson (NYSE: MCK  ) and Cardinal Health (NYSE: CAH  ) , pharmaceutical giant Merck (NYSE: MRK  ) , and the like. Here are some recent articles to get you started:

And finally, if you're excited by the prospect of saving more of your hard-earned dollars, check out our brand-new personal finance newsletter service, GreenLight. Packed with terrific ideas and guidance, GreenLight is written by some of our smartest, wittiest writers and analysts.

Longtime Fool contributorSelena Maranjianowns shares of Wal-Mart. Merck is aMotley Fool Income Investorpick, while Wal-Mart is aMotley Fool Inside Value selection. The Fool has adisclosure policy.

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