Is your local pharmacy always busy, causing long waits to get a prescription filled? If you're thinking about trying Costco's pharmacy but wondering if it's worth the hassle of switching, you're not alone.
With so many pharmacies vying for your business, there is no shortage of places you could go. But if you're looking for a one-stop shop with a full range of prescription medications, trusted over-the-counter medicines, durable medical equipment and more, Costco pharmacy may be a solid choice for you and your family.
Here's what you need to know about it — from how prescriptions are covered, pricing, and home delivery to how you can pick up meds for your pet.
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Frequently asked questions
Do I need to be a member?
No. Costco Pharmacy is required by law to be open to anyone. Some locations even have a separate entrance for non-members that leads directly into the pharmacy. (That being said, it's always good practice to call your local store and check before heading out.)
How do Costco's prices stack up?
Prescription costs are skyrocketing, but Costco routinely offers low prices on medications. If you’re looking to cut down on costs, the big-box retailer may be a great place to start. According to a study by Consumer Reports, Costco ranked as the second-cheapest option compared with big-name pharmacies and independent players. For generic medications such as the antidepressant duloxetine (generic Cymbalta, 20 mg), cholesterol medication atorvastatin (generic Lipitor, 20 mg), and blood thinner Clopidogrel (generic Plavix, 75 mg), Costco sold at the low prices at $35, $13, and $16.
Walgreens offered the same medications at much higher price points: $204 for duloxetine, and $65 for atorvastatin and clopidogel. The only pharmacy to beat Costco on price was the online-only HealthWarehouse.com, and thus not the best option for consumers who need their prescriptions filled right away.
Does Costco offer additional discounts?
Yes, but there's a catch. Only registered Costco members have access to its discounted drug program through a Costco Member Prescription Program Discount Card. Depending on the medication, the discount card can help members save anywhere from 2% to 40%.
The program is free to use and sign up for. All you have to do is show the pharmacist your Costco membership to be enrolled.
Does Costco have an auto-refill program?
Yes. Just select the "Auto Refill" option on Costco's website. Customers can find the option by logging into their accounts via the Refill Prescription page or Prescription Status page.
You must have a valid credit card on file to use the service. Controlled-substance medicines or prescriptions considered "non-maintenance" are not included in the auto-fill feature.
Can I have medications delivered?
Yes. Costco offers option to have meds shipped to you, or for pickup at the store. To select this feature, head to Costcos' website. You can fill new prescriptions, refill prescriptions, or have them transferred directly from a Costco warehouse to your preferred address.
What about medications for pets?
Costco has them, and you could save a lot. But to get a prescription filled for an animal, you must be a Costco member enrolled in Costco's Member Prescription Program. Pet medications are also not available for shipping; they must be picked up.
For existing prescriptions, simply bring in a bottle or tube of the medication and a pharmacist will tell you about availability and pricing. If your pet is starting a medication, have your vet send the prescription to Costco's pharmacy directly.
Does Costco offer immunizations and vaccines?
Yes. Costco offers vaccines and boosters for COVID-19, as well as a full panel of immunizations and consultations for traveling abroad. Vaccines are available for walk-ins (subject to wait times), or you can save time by scheduling an appointment online.
Is Costco's Pharmacy VIPPS-certified?
Yes, all of Costco's pharmacies have Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites certifications — meaning it has passed rigorous vetting on standards set by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
When comparing prescription costs online, be sure to look for pharmacies that are VIPPS-accredited. It distinguishes reputable online pharmacies from shady ones.