We all get a headache from time to time, or a sniffle from allergies, or a bit of indigestion. But if you don’t take over-the-counter meds that often (and we hope you don’t; too much of some common drugs like ibuprofen can be hard on your kidneys, for starters), you don’t necessarily want to buy a giant bottle just to get the best deal. Good news: You don’t have to! In our recent price scan, our secret shoppers found that the savings on medium-sized bottles were almost as good as the savings on big bottles—and the drug are less likely to expire before you get a chance to take them all.
Here are some of the deals we found (see them in our May issue, on newsstands now):
Advil (ibuprofen, for pain and inflammation), 200 milligrams, caplets or tablets
SMARTEST BUY 200 pills
SAVE 53% versus buying 24 pills
(Buying 300 pills will save you just a bit more, 59%)
Zyrtec Allergy 24 Hour (cetirizine, for allergies), 10 milligrams
SMARTEST BUY 45 pills
SAVE 39% versus buying 14 pills
(Buying 70 pills will save you 44%, which might be worth it for year-round allergy sufferers but not those who only sneeze for a few weeks a year.)
This holds true no matter where you shop. But if you want to find the best deals on OTC drugs, don’t go to the drugstore! Overall, our secret shoppers found the best prices at Walmart, with Target a fairly close second. Supermarkets had the next-lowest prices, beating out the chain drugstores CVS and Walgreens.
That’s right—the drugstores charged the highest prices on the dozens of OTC drugs we priced. So unless they’re having a sale and you use your rewards card, which can net you rewards later, they’re not the place to save. (No matter where you buy meds, be sure to bring coupons—you can often save $1 or even more!) Check out our May issue now!