Cheapest Pharmacies 2007

Reporter: Natalie Bonjolo

It's bad enough 'having' a headache ... let alone paying like a wounded bull for pain relief. As the price of groceries go up ... so too, do the cost of medicines ... chipping into your family budget. Michelle Kosky says "I think it's very costly to be a healthy person" The good news is ... there's massive savings to be made, you just need to know where to look. Today Tonight surveyed sixteen chemists across the metro area, as well as three online pharmacies, on a basket of fourteen products, everything from pain killers, to pregnancy kits.

We also compared the price of today's baskets with what we paid for the exact same bundle three years ago ... those results a little later , but first how much did we pay for this lot? Well, at the most expensive chemist it cost $207.88 the cheapest? ... Chemist Outlet in Girrawheen where we bought the exact same basket, for just $129.50 that's a staggering saving of $78.38 a sixty percent discount.

"If there are struggling families struggling to make ends meet, then a pharmacy like this perhaps could help them" Chemist Outlet pharmacist Edward Beck puts his cheaper prices down to buying power. "We try to keep our margins as low as possible, I'm part of an Australian wide chain of pharmacies" But there are bargains to be found across the board ... At both Applecross Chemist and Whitfords Pharmacy 777 you can buy a jar of Wazeeze for $12.95 but at another outlet you'll pay $23.00 A massive $10 difference.

Back at Chemist Outlet a twelve pack of Naprogesic costs $4.95, at Online Pharmacy it's $5.75 but at one store it sells for $14.95 That's ten bucks, better off in your pocket ...

A box of forty eight Mylanta tablets costs just under five dollars at Chemist Outlet, but if you don't shop around you could pay almost fourteen dollars.

"Try and check out where you can get the best bang for your buck" the health Consumer Council's Michelle Kosky says while prescription medication's subsidised for low income families ... over the counter remedies aren't. "There are always pockets of social disadvantage that struggle really to do a whole lot of things to do with maintaining their health from nutrition to the purchase of good medicine" The pharmaceutical industry recently argued against big supermarket chains having their own chemists claiming they wouldn't deliver a professional service ... Michelle Kosky says "I think what's interesting is the tension for pharmacists between being health professionals and having a commercial imperative"

Like any business chemists are driven by the bottom line ... and in recent years there's been a new competitor in the market ... online pharmacies. Of the fourteen products in our basket, we found six of them cheapest at online websites. Kids Panadol costs just $8.10 at 'Online Pharmacy', only slightly less than what you'll pay at Chemist Outlet $8.90, but almost seven dollars cheaper than another store at $14.99. Chemists' online charge a postage and handling fee on top of their product pricing.

Cordal Cold and Flu twenty four pack sells for $9.85 from online Pharmacy Direct. It retails slightly higher at Chemist Outlet for $10.75. But at one shop you'll pay almost seventeen dollars.

You'll find Difflam throat spray for $7.50 Online, $9.50 at Chemist Outlet, and up to seventeen dollars elsewhere

Clear Blue Pregnancy test can be bought for seventeen dollars forty five at Online Pharmacy. At Greg's Discount Chemist in Morley, you'll pay nineteen ninety five but at one chemist we paid almost forty dollars. and you can still get good buys over the counter ... At Scarborough Beach 7 Day Chemist a tub of Blistex costs $3.25 but you could pay DOUBLE that, up to seven dollars at some other outlets.

Blackmores Multi Vitamin sells at Chemist Outlet for $21.60 or twenty one sixty nine at Chemist Warehouse eight dollars cheaper than the thirty dollars price tag at another store. ****

Impulse Body spray costs $3.75 at Amcal Morley, but it's up to $5.95 elsewhere. And for men, Lynx is $3.95 at both Amcal Morley and Amcal Forrestfield. But we paid nearly seven dollars elsewhere.

And every little bit adds up. Remember on our basket of just fourteen products we saved almost eighty dollars. We compared the average price of this year's basket to the prices we paid for the same products back in 2004. And you're forking out an extra fourteen dollars on those few items alone. It's no wonder your feeling the pinch, but this survey proves you can beat the price hike, by simply following the golden rule. Michelle Kosky says "compare prices that's always a good thing to do whether you're buying petrol, milk, bread, or buying over the counter medicines"