A recent story on PBS made it pretty clear to me that you ought to check out your local mom and pop pharmacy before going to a big chain drugstore or an online pharmacy. Not only might you find better drug prices, but you could also be supporting the business of someone who really cares about you. I’m talking about people like Tom Sengupta, a pharmacist at Schneider Drug in Minnesota, who puts patients before maximizing profits, unlike some of the big pharmacy corporations.
Carol Thompson used to pay over $400 for a brand name drug, but once it went generic the price plummeted to $10 at her local Costco. That’s what we’ve come to except and need from our generic medication: much lower prices. Curious about prices at other pharmacies, Ms. Thompson called around and found some other pharmacies were charging about $400!
Mr. Sengupta is not the kind of guy who would charge you $400 for a generic medication. He explains that big chain pharmacies often determine drug prices for generics by simply charging less than the brand name drug, rather than a small mark-up from the wholesale drug price of the generic, like Schneider Drug does. Sometimes their pricing can even depend on the circumstances of the individual buying. Mr. Sengupta says: “My pricing is based on the person I’m talking to. You know, because if they need something, this is my responsibility to provide that to them. I’m not losing any money.”
PBS reported that Schneider Drug charges $14 for 30 pills of Letrozole 2.5mg. We just placed a phone call to a “local” chain pharmacy and they quoted a price of $599 – over 4,000% higher! Outraged by the pricing policies of some big chain pharmacies, Mr. Sengupta stated: “How could you justify that? You know? If you had any morality – we don’t need to make money like that. We have to ask, what’s happening? Where is their moral compass?”
So next time you have to fill a script check out your local independent pharmacy’s price. And if you’re visiting the Twin Cities and need a prescription medication, pay a visit to Mr. Sengupta!Tagged with: Letrozole, PBS, Schneider Drug, Tom Sengupta