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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Are You Shopping Smart for Prescription Drugs?

Susanna and John Dodson looking at there prescription drugs.

Susanna and John Dodson have found less expensive drugs that work well for them through the CR Best Buy Drugs program.
Photo courtesy of Sara Jorde Photography

A new Consumer Reports project compares prescription drugs on effectiveness, safety, and price. Funded in part by the National Library of Medicine, the Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs program helps consumers discuss drug choices with their doctors and get the best value.

John and Susannah Dodson have struggled for years to keep their prescription drug costs under control. Now, they finally have a resource that provides comparative cost and effectiveness of those drugs. Consumer Reports magazine, best known for its ratings of cars, appliances, computers, and TVs, recently launched Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs. The project compares prescription drugs based on their effectiveness, safety, side effects, and cost. The results are offered free at

The Dodsons, who live in Shorewood, Minn., both have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. Between them, they take 12 prescription drugs every day, and more when allergies, arthritis, or back pain flare up. While the new Medicare Part D program pays a good portion of their drug bill, they still face around $260 a month in out-of-pocket expenses.

Says Susannah, who is 68, "The Best Buy Drugs site was enormously helpful right away."

Consumers Union, the magazine's publisher, translates the drug findings into easy-to-understand language for consumers, adds explanations and data on the cost of drugs, and chooses Best Buys for each drug category.

To Find Out More

For more information about drugs, visit MedlinePlus Drugs & Supplements at
. The Best Buy
information is at

To date, the Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs project has issued 19 reports on drugs used to treat 35 medical conditions, including many major chronic illnesses.

Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs advises everyone to talk with their health care professional in some detail—and/or search out the information themselves on the Internet—about the potential adverse effects of drugs they are prescribed. Knowing what could happen can help prevent discomfort, pain, or harm.

This article is adapted, with permission, from the January 2008 issue of Consumer Reports magazine. Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs™ can be found on the Internet at ©2008 by Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. Yonkers, NY 10703, a nonprofit organization. No commercial use or reproduction permitted.

Winter 2008 Issue: Volume 3 Number 1 Page 17