The Money-Saving Reason I Switched to Target’s Pharmacy

by Travis Pizel · 15 comments

“Can you stop by Target on your way home and pick up Tristan’s prescription?” read the text message.

My automatic response was simply to confirm I’d retrieve our son’s medication as instructed, but further thought caused my forehead to scrunch in confusion. We’ve always gotten our prescription drugs at the Walmart pharmacy, since we’re there several times a week to do the bulk of our grocery shopping. After a brief text message exchange, my wife explained she thought it would be more convenient since Target was closer to my employer.

From that point on, we had all our prescriptions filled at Target. Though it wasn’t for any specific reason, something came in the mail this week that convinced me Target is the right pharmacy for us.

Why We Love Target’s Pharmacy

Apparently, my wife had enrolled us in Target’s prescription drug rewards program. For every five prescriptions filled, we earn a coupon for five percent off. With my son’s latest prescription, we received our first coupon.

Five percent may not seem like much, but think about the following situations:

Each of the above could end up totaling several hundred dollars, which means a five percent discount would be a significant savings. And if you have a Target credit card, you’d get an additional five percent discount to double your savings.

Going forward, we’ll be doing a price comparison between the Walmart and Target pharmacies to see which one is cheaper. If the prescription will be significantly cheaper at Walmart, we’ll have it sent there — otherwise it’s going to Target.

We don’t have prescriptions filled that often, but having a five percent off coupon once or twice a year would be a welcome addition to our money-saving toolbox.

Where do you fill your prescriptions?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Fred says:

    Kroger gives you fuel points for every prescription. There’s potential for a lot of savings there.

    • Oooh, I like that option a lot, Fred. We have a grocery store that does something similar in my area with groceries. If you buy certain featured items you get money off each gallon of gasoline. I don’t think they do it with prescription drugs though. Thanks for the tip!

  • Anon says:

    I forgot to mention that it pays to see if there’s another formulation of medication available. My current dog was recently diagnosed as immune deficient. The vet put him on zinc methionine. She had some that she gave us for free, but when he runs out he’ll have to get more. She said we’d have to get this at a compounding pharmacy. I got a quote and it was a bit pricey, but not nearly as much as I was expecting. He’s only taking 4 mg. I noticed that they also have it available, not compounded, in 20 mg tablets. I had the idea of buying those and cutting them into quarters, which would be 5 mg each. The vet said that the would be perfectly fine, especially since he has recently gained a bit of weight. That’s a bottle of 100 20 mg tablets for just over $12. If I cut them into 4ths, that’s 400 tablets, and at one per day, that will last him over a year. But he has enough of the capsules the vet gave him to last for at least a few more weeks.

    • Great point, Anon…the only downfall is you may not realize the drug on your prescription is really expensive until you get to the pharmacy – then you have to get back in contact with the doctor to ask if there’s something less expensive that you can use. I guess you could just ask the doctor while you’re in his office i that’s the least expensive option….. Great comments!

  • Anon says:

    It’s really important to comparison shop! I don’t have health insurance, and prices of medicines can vary WIDELY from one pharmacy to the next. My last dog had diabetes. His insulin was $24/vial at WalMart. Every place else wanted $99+. Also, don’t forget, some pharmacies (WalMart and Kroger anyway) have a list of common medications that you can get for just $4. The same dog also had a heart murmur and we were able to get his medication for $4.25 for a 30 day supply. I don’t know about other pharmacies, but Meijer pharmacy has a list of antibiotics that are free! Unfortunately, not all antibiotics are on there. If there’s a hospital in your area, they might have a discounted prescription drug program for the uninsured. Mine does. I recently had a really bad sinus infection and ended up in the ER. I was able to get my prescription free (b/c the Dr. wrote on the script that I really needed it as I’d had the infection for a long time but hadn’t gotten the script b/c of lack of funds). But typically they just give them to you at reduced cost. I believe this one would have been like $8 and some change if it hadn’t been free.

    • David Ning says:

      Sounds amazing that your hospital will give you free meds! And I didn’t know about free antibiotics either. I’ll definitely have to check out similar programs in my area.

    • You answered one of my questions….I was questioning how much the price would vary between pharmacies. I would have liked to include some information like that, but I’m not sure how pharmacies would react to me calling and price comparing different drugs…. 🙂

  • David Ning says:

    I recently had an episode with Target pharmacy that was rather painful to deal with. My 1 year old son contacted a virus and had a bad allergic reaction. The pediatrician told us to only use the drug if his allergy got worst, so we didn’t pick up the prescription right away since he seemed okay during the day. Big mistake.

    Come night time, my boy’s allergy got much worst and when we tried to pick the drug up, the pharmacy section at our usual location already closed. I thought I could go to another Target and just get it filled but the lady behind the counter said that even though she can see what was prescribed in the system, she cannot fill it because the prescription was sent electronically to the other store and they already filled that prescription by putting it in a bottle. It didn’t seem to matter that no one picked it up because they deem that prescription filled.

    We ended up waiting the whole night and just dealing with his itchiness with him. It was painful, but lesson learned!

    • You would hope that there would be better coordination than that….although if they already filled the prescription I can see their point – there may be regulations preventing them from putting drugs back into the hopper. But if it hadn’t been filled, you should be able to have the prescription transferred. Glad you made it through the night without any serious consequences, David!

  • Bill says:

    The unfortunate thing about prescription drugs is that you can’t easily comparison shop prices. If you just have occasional prescriptions and they are common inexpensive drugs, a prescription rewards plan may be OK. As you get older and get placed on long term prescriptions, the cost can quickly soar. I am fortunate that my most expensive prescription drug has recently become available over the counter and the price drop is astronomical. As a prescription drug, I would have to pay almost $3,000 per year for this drug, over the counter it is around it is around $400 per year. In the past, I was covered by a prescription drug plan and my employer would have paid most of the cost of my drugs. Since the first of the year, I am responsible for my own health care insurance. Fortunately, my plan has a mail order pharmacy and the drugs, though expensive, are less expensive than if they were purchased at the local pharmacy.

    • David Ning says:

      Good timing on that drug going over the counter. $2600 is no small price to save for the exact same thing!

      The whole health care system is badly designed. I hope one day a genius entrepreneur can open the marketplace up so not only drugs, but doctors can start competing for our business, driving costs down.

    • Wow, that’s quite a price drop, Bill. I wonder what the criteria is for something to move from prescription to over the counter? Regardless of the reason, it’s quite a money saver for you – thanks for sharing!

  • Bri says:

    I work in pharmacy benefits & I love Target. I get a 5% pharmacy reward coupon all the time. In addition to this-I love their customer service & the unique bottles. They can also fill most pet prescriptions too. In addition they send lots of other coupons throughout the year too.

    • David Ning says:

      I love the bottles from Target too. I like the nice touch of being able to choose a different color for each family member, and the childproof cap could potentially be life-saving too!

    • Ever since we signed up for the pharmacy rewards program I have noticed an uptick in coupons from Target…..although it remains to be seen whether the discounted price with a coupon is any cheaper than Shopping regular price at Walmart.

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