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Jan 20, 2014 8:59 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Prescription prices vary by store

Seven out of ten Americans are taking prescription drugs these days, but prices for each can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy.

"It's kind of mind blowing," said Barry Erlich.

Like nearly 70% of Americans, Erlich takes prescription medication.

"I have what's called SVT, which is an arrhythmia-type thing for my heart," said Erlich, displaying one of his prescriptions.

He pays out of pocket for three medications, but a recent trip to the local CVS to pick them up left him in disbelief over the price.

"I take heart medication, so my out of pocket cost was $110 for this one prescription," said Erlich.

That price prompted him to take action.

"So then I decided, you know, I'm going to check around, so I went to Costco," said Erlich.

He paid around $170 for two of his prescriptions at CVS. At Costco, he paid just $25 total for the same prescriptions.

We decided to compare the prices of five leading prescription medications -- Lipitor, Nexium, Plavix, Advair Diskus, and Abilify -- at four major pharmacies.

Paying out of pocket for 30-day supplies, the total price of all the drugs at each pharmacy looked like this:

CVS: $2000
Vons: $1969
Walmart: $1915
Costco: $1758.

The difference between CVS and Costco is nearly $241 per month or $2892 per year.

"Call, go into a pharmacy, tell them what you want, but make sure its apples to apple," said Erlich. "I think you'll be surprised and you'll save a heck of a lot of money. I know I am."

Prices can change based on insurance, the type of medication, and whether it's name brand or generic.

Doctors say you should check with your insurance company to make sure you're not restricted from picking up drugs at the pharmacy of your choice. They suggest looking online for coupons, which can also help you save.

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