Pricing for prescription drugs definitely isn't transparent.
Pharmacies don't post lists of the costs for the medicines they dispense, and they can differ widely, so if it can pay to shop around.
This is important to consider whether or not you're using insurance. If you're paying cash for prescriptions, it makes sense to find the pharmacy that charges the lowest price.
And insurance doesn't always cover all medicines, and sometimes you will find that the mandatory co-pay is actually higher than the cost of certain drugs. Either way, it's nice to know exactly how much of a discount you receive in exchange for those premiums you pay.
But how do you do it? It's tedious to call individual pharmacies until you reach someone who can answer your pricing questions. Instead, try our Consumer Websites of the Week.
FrugalPharmacies.com, which I found on AlphaConsumer via Consumerist, relies on user-submitted information about the prices charged by local pharmacies for different drugs. You can search by brand name or generic, and the list comes sorted by quantity and strength.
Now, some of the prices may require you to sign up for a prescription drug plan, but many people will choose to do so if it means paying $4 for a 30-day supply of a generic.
Here's one reminder via LocalDrugsearch: under federal law, anyone can use the pharmacy at a warehouse store like Costco or Sam's Club even if you aren't a member.