Saving on prescription drugs

Working for a Fortune 500 company, I have a good health plan along with prescription coverage. While my doctor co-pays have remained steady over the last several years, I've noticed that my prescription co-pays have risen dramatically.

The area of greatest expense is with formulary prescription drugs (i.e., brand-name medications or those for which there is no generic equivalent). FDA guidelines require generic medications to contain within 20% the active medication of its non-generic counterpart. So while generic medications could potentially have 20% more active ingredient, would you presume drug companies would actually provide more for less?

When my wife was recently written a prescription for a medication she has used in the past, she knew that the efficacy of the generic was poor compared to that of its formulary counterpart. Since our prescription coverage only pays for a percentage of the cost of formulary medications, we know to shop around, despite having insurance. After calling all of the major local pharmacies, we found that the least expensive one was Sam's Club. At the bottom of the pack and 45% more expensive than Sam's Club was Eckerd Drugs. Others such as Kroger, Publix, Costco, Walgreens, and CVS all fell somewhere in between. It once again reinforced the old adage that it pays to shop around.