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Prescription Drugs vs OTC

OTC vs. Prescription Drug Costs

Many prescription drugs have OTC equivalents that contain the same medication in the same strength. And choosing available OTC products instead of prescription drugs can really save you money.

Here’s an example of how you can save on a popular medication for heartburn, omeprazole 20 mg:


Brand-Name Prescription Drug

OTC Product

Doctor’s Visit Copay:         $30

Doctor’s Visit Copay:     $0 (no prescription required)

Prescription Drug Copay:  $50

OTC Product Cost:        $24

Your Total Cost:                $80

Your Total Cost:            $24


You Save:                      $56

The information in this chart represents common copays and costs. OTC drug costs can vary, and your benefits and coverage may be different. Check your plan materials or Evidence of Coverage for your plan’s specific benefits and coverage.

Always talk with your doctor about your medication options, so you can make the best choice for you and your health.


The Facts About OTC Drugs

  • OTC medications have usually been on the market for years and have a proven safety record.
  • Many OTC products are available in the same strength as their prescription versions, and can have the same results.
  • The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires OTC medications to meet stringent regulations for safety and purity.
  • OTC medications must be safe enough for consumers to use without the supervision of a doctor.
  • OTC products are usually less expensive than their prescription equivalents.
Page Modified:May 18, 2012