How the Costco Pharmacy Could Save You $739 or More a Year


If you’re struggling with out-of-pocket healthcare costs, saving money on prescription drugs can be a great way to improve your personal finances. Fortunately, Costco is not just a great place to buy hot dogs — the Costco Pharmacy offers big savings on prescriptions and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Depending on your healthcare spending, the pharmacy savings alone might make it worth signing up for a Costco membership.

Let’s look at a few popular prescriptions and OTC meds that get big discounts at Costco — and see how much you can save in a year.

Costco discounts on five common prescriptions

We researched prices on some of the most commonly prescribed drugs to see how much you could save with Costco Pharmacy. Depending on how many medications your family takes, you might recoup the cost of your Costco membership fast!

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1. Atorvastatin Calcium (generic of Lipitor)

This statin drug is used to treat high cholesterol. Costco offers a package of 30 tablets (20 mg each) for $7.99, compared to $19.79 at the highest-priced local competitor.

Costco savings: $11.80 per month

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2. Celecoxib (generic of Celebrex)

This medication treats pain, inflammation, and arthritis. Costco offers 30 tablets (200 mg each) for $12.79, compared to $27.99 at the highest-priced pharmacy in the area.

Costco savings: $15.20 per month

3. Fluoxetine HCL (generic of Prozac)

This SSRI medication treats anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Costco offers 30 capsules (20 mg each) for $8.79, compared to $20.99 at the highest-priced local pharmacy.

Costco savings: $12.20 per month

4. Lisinopril (generic of Zestril)

This medication treats high blood pressure and heart failure, and helps prevent further damage after a heart attack. Costco offers 30 tablets (20 mg each) for $5.99, compared to $15.79 at the highest-priced local pharmacy.

Costco savings: $9.80 per month

5. Tamsulosin HCL (generic of Flomax)

This drug treats symptoms of an enlarged prostate by relaxing muscles in the prostate and bladder. Costco offers 30 capsules (0.4 mg each) for $6.79, compared to $16.79 at the highest-priced local pharmacy.

Costco savings: $10 per month

Note: Pharmacy prices may vary by location and by dosage strength. All cost comparisons were for 30 tablets/capsules per month, assuming 30 doses per month. The Costco website listed these prices as of Jan. 25, 2024, for my local Costco Pharmacy in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Top Costco savings on over-the-counter (OTC) medications

Costco also offers deals and discounts on over-the-counter medications. Here are a few online prices I found (as of Jan. 25, 2024, in West Des Moines, Iowa) for some of these popular types of pain relievers, allergy medications, and other non-prescription drugs.

Advil Ibuprofen

Costco offers bulk discounts on this popular pain reliever and fever reducer. You can get a big bottle of 360 tablets (200 mg) for $24.99 — or about $0.07 per tablet. Walgreens offers a bottle of 100 tablets for $9.99, or about $0.10 per tablet. That means buying the same amount of tablets at Walgreens would cost you about $36.

Costco savings: $11.01 per year (hopefully 360 tablets of Advil will last your family at least 1 year)

Benadryl Ultratabs® Antihistamine Allergy Medicine

Get ready for springtime allergy season with 200 tablets of Benadryl (25 mg each) for $26.99 at Costco — about $0.14 per tablet. Walgreens offers 100 tablets of Benadryl for $19.99, or about $0.20 per tablet. That means that the same amount of Benadryl at Walgreens would cost you about $39.98.

Costco savings: $12.99 per year (assuming 200 tablets will get you through a full year of allergies)

TUMS Antacid Ultra Strength

Get relief from heartburn, acid indigestion, and upset stomach with this bulk bottle of TUMS. Costco offers 265 chewable tablets for $13.99, about $0.05 per tablet. Walgreens has the same product in a package of 160 tablets for $13.49, or about $0.08 per tablet. This means 265 TUMS tablets at Walgreens would cost about $21.20.

Costco savings: $7.21 per year (if you need more antacid medication than this in one year, you might want to talk with a doctor)

Don’t forget: These are just the Costco savings you can find by buying name-brand OTC medications in bulk. Costco also offers even better deals on its private-label Kirkland medicines. However, I couldn’t get online pricing for these Kirkland products — you have to go to Costco to see local prices in your area.

Fun fact: Costco also offers pet medications! Costco offers discounts of 40% or more on prescriptions for your pet.

How much can you save with Costco Pharmacy?

If you buy all the medications featured in this article, here’s how much you could save with Costco Pharmacy in one year:

Medication Costco Savings Per Year
Atorvastatin Calcium (generic of Lipitor) $141.60
Celecoxib (generic of Celebrex) $182.40
Fluoxetine HCL (generic of Prozac) $146.40
Lisinopril (generic of Zestril) $117.60
Tamsulosin HCL (generic of Flomax) $120.00
Advil Ibuprofen $11.01
Benadryl Ultratabs® Antihistamine Allergy Medicine $12.99
TUMS Antacid Ultra Strength $7.21
TOTAL Annual Savings with Costco $739.21

Source: Author’s calculations based on local Des Moines, Iowa prices listed on Costco and Walgreens websites as of Jan. 25, 2024

Bottom line: Based on our calculations, buying five commonly prescribed drugs and three popular over-the-counter medications at Costco can help you save about $739 per year. You can save even more with bulk quantities of your prescriptions or Costco’s private-label Kirkland brand over-the-counter medications. Saving money at Costco can help improve your health and financial wellness in 2024.

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