You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Costco vs. CVS: Where Should You Get Your Prescriptions?

The Motley Fool logo The Motley Fool 2/2/2023 David Chang
A doctor sitting in the waiting room with her patient and explaining a bill. © Getty Images A doctor sitting in the waiting room with her patient and explaining a bill.

When it comes to filling your prescriptions, you have many options. You can go to a dedicated pharmacy such as CVS, a pharmacy at your local hospital, an online pharmacy, or a pharmacy at a large store like Costco. But which one is better? Here is a comparison of Costco and CVS and how they stack up when it comes to prescription refills.

Costco vs. CVS: Convenience

If visiting a pharmacy in person and convenient hours are important to you, then CVS is the clear winner. CVS is the largest retail pharmacy in terms of locations, with over 9,700 stores. In comparison, there are only 583 Costco locations in the U.S. With almost 17 times more stores, it is much easier to find a CVS pharmacy than a Costco. In addition, many CVS locations are open 24/7 while most Costcos close early and aren't open on holidays.

CVS also has MinuteClinic, a medical clinic inside many CVS stores that is the largest provider of retail health care in the United States. You can see a nurse practitioner and physician assistants for medical care with no appointment every day, including evenings and weekends. While Costco doesn't offer medical care on site, it has a larger selection of products to purchase -- but you do need a membership to shop.

If you need to pick up your medication in person outside of regular business hours or don't have a Costco near you, then getting your prescriptions at a CVS may be a better option for you. Both however offer mail delivery and auto-refill for many medications. So if you do not need to visit a location, then CVS's convenient locations and hours may not matter as much.

Costco vs. CVS: Prices

When it comes to pricing, Costco has lower prices across the board, including on prescription medications. Costco offers a wide range of generic and brand-name drugs at discounted rates, making it an attractive option for those looking to save money on their prescriptions. Best of all, you don't need to be a Costco member to enjoy the perks of Costco's savings.

In addition, you can save even more by joining the Costco Member Prescription Program, a prescription drug discount card program. You have to be a Costco member to take advantage of the larger discounts and the discount card does not pay or provide reimbursement for prescription drug purchases, like health insurance does. However, you will need to take into account your potential savings to see if it is worth both the cost of membership as well as the program. Before deciding, do you research and check with your health insurance company to see if they have a preferred vendor with a special rate.

Both Costco and CVS offer excellent options when it comes to filling your prescriptions. When it comes to convenience, CVS has an edge but Costco wins out when it comes to its prices and by letting customers save more money. CVS also has the MinuteClinic, offering convenient medical care with no appointment required. Ultimately, it is up to you to choose which is best for you, but by comparing them side-by-side you can ensure you get the best deal possible on your prescriptions.


Alert: highest cash back card we've seen now has 0% intro APR until 2024

If you're using the wrong credit or debit card, it could be costing you serious money. Our expert loves this top pick, which features a 0% intro APR until 2024, an insane cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee. 

In fact, this card is so good that our expert even uses it personally. Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes. 

Read our free review

We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


More from The Motley Fool

The Motley Fool
The Motley Fool
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon