Wal-Mart Stores Inc. expanded a $4 offer for some prescription generic drugs to 11 more states Thursday, including Oklahoma, in its plan to reach all 50 states by as early as January with the discount program.Many consumers have yet to take advantage of the low prices for prescription drugs offered by many retailers. For example, some American consumers still pay an average of $50 a month for the generic drug pravastatin to lower cholesterol. But you can buy a 30-day supply for $4 at Target or Walmart and pay even less per dose for a 90-day supply.

Retailers such as Kmart, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart, and national grocers such as Kroger have been steadily expanding their discount-drug programs. To offer such low prices, retailers often purchase the medications in bulk.

Before you enroll, check the fine print. Also:
· Make sure you're covered. Many discount-drug programs don't include high dosages, and the list of drugs can be limited.

· Ask about restrictions. Some programs are offered only to people without insurance or are for medications that are not covered by insurance. And some are not available in certain states or their prices might be higher.

· Note that some programs carry an enrollment fee, which might make them less of a bargain.

· Check with your independent pharmacy. Some will match those deals when possible.

· Review the discount lists frequently. More generics are likely to be added to the lists as many major drugs, such as Lipitor and Plavix, become available as generics over the next 36 months.

[List of select discount drug programs continues below.]

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MORE FROM CONSUMER REPORTS:
What Doctors Wish Their Patients Knew
Best Buy Drug Choices for Your Condition
Heart Tests: What to Get, What to Skip

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SELECT DISCOUNT-DRUG PROGRAMS

Costco Member Prescription Program

Price: Varies by location

Fee: Free for Costco members ($50 annual)

Note: Only for drugs not covered by insurance

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CVS/Pharmacy Health Savings Pass

Price: 90-day, $11.99

Fee: $15 a year

Note: Open to all

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Kmart Prescription Savings Club

Price: 30-day, $5; 90-day, $15

Fee: $10 a year

Note: Open to all. Up to 35 percent discount on all generics; 20 percent on brand-name drugs. Second, free program offers $5, $10, $15, and $25 medications

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Kroger $4/$10 Generic

Price: 30-day, $4; 90-day, $10

Fee: Free

Note: Open to all

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Rite Aid Rx Savings Program

Price: 30-day, $8.99; 90-day, $15.99

Fee: Free

Note: Not valid with Medicare, Medicaid, or Tricare. Up to 20 percent discount on generics, 15 percent on brand-name drugs

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Target $4 Generic Drug Program

Price: 30-day, $4; 90-day, $10

Fee: Free

Note: Open to all

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Walgreens Prescription Savings Club

Price: 90-day, $12

Fee: Individuals, $20 a year; family, $35 a year

Note: Not valid with Medicare, Medicaid, or Tricare

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Walmart and Sam's Club $4 Prescription Program

Price: 30-day, $4; 90-day, $10

Fee: Free; no membership needed for Sam's Club

Note: Open to all

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