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Saving on skyrocking drug prices

Drug Chains, Retailers, Internet Providers, Independent Pharmacies offering discount and even free prescription drugs to lure customers.

ATLANTA — With tight family budgets and escalating prices for prescription drugs, the goal is to find the best deals on both brand name and generics. 

From supermarkets to retail chains to the internet to independent pharmacies, deals do abound for discounts on prescriptions. But imagine if you walk in with a prescription and you get the medicine for free. That’s just what happened to one customer.

It’s a program Publix has been offering for more than a decade with little fanfare.

One customer dropped off a prescription, then came back to the pharmacy to pay for it.

“Handed her my credit card and she said there is no charge and I looked at her and said, 'What?' and she said free, no charge," customer Jonathan Zufi said. "I thought perhaps my wife had signed up for some program or something like that, but it turns out at Publix certain medicines are free and that’s what she told me, and I was completely blown away.”

And the free prescription program at Publix includes many popular medications.

“Some of the top medications on that list include Amoxicillin, which is a frequently prescribed antibiotic that you will see that a lot prescribed for children and adults, and then there is also a diabetic medication, Metformin and also some anti-hypertensive medications,” said Jennifer Bass, a Publix pharmacist.

And while Publix offers certain medicines for free, many retailers offer substantial prescription discounts as well.

 You can save at pharmacies and chains like CVS, Costco, Kroger, Publix (which also offers a discount program), Walgreens, Walmart and Sam's Club.

But be sure to check for possible membership requirements before you can get the deals. Also, check out discount cards and offers at many internet sites.

Independent pharmacies are assisting the consumer in saving prescription dollars as well.

Wender & Roberts, a 100-year old Atlanta chain, has a consumer advocacy program.

“We have patient advocates that can work directly with a patient and help them find funding that an saved them thousands of dollars," Melanie Germany, a Wender & Roberts pharmacist, said. "They can get grants from the Diabetes Association, the Asthma Association as well as low-income grants to really make a substantial difference.” 

The bottom line is to carefully shop and get the best advice and the best deal you possibly can because in the end it is your money and it is your health.