Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Best pharmacies for gladly accepting their own Rx coupons (with no hassle, limitations)

UPDATE (Dec. 7, 2009):
This is one list that has endured all the changes in company policy in 2009. Unfortunately, the store rated as #1 only accepts their own coupons now and those are only $10.

When it comes to the pharmacies that are most friendly and hassle-free about accepting THEIR OWN Rx coupons -- as many new/transferred prescriptions (and an Rx coupon to redeem with each), here is where you'll have your best experiences (at least based on my experiences over the past two years in central Ohio):

(1) Target

(2) Giant Eagle

(3) CVS

--> In THAT order (when it comes to focusing on how cool they are about taking their OWN coupons ... and multiple ones at once).

--> In terms of BEST SERVICE? I'd reverse that order putting CVS first, then Giant Eagle, and then Target ... although there are some exceptional locations such as the Giant Eagle in Powell, Ohio (when Jill is there ;-). And Target (on Sawmill) had been on top when it came to service before Jill left there to go to Giant Eagle. She's on maternity leave now with her daughter, Meghan.

Best pharmacies for using Rx coupons (from competitors)

*** This is an old entry (updated a few times). For more current information about best pharmacies for using Rx coupons from competitors, see the July 14, 2009 entry. *** In other words, it's "stale" -- kind of like some of CVS' prescription drugs/items they sell as you can read about at http://CureCVSnow.com . ;-)

UPDATE Friday, March 13

CVS has really raised the bar in Columbus, Ohio, when it comes to competing for pharmacy business -- and KEEPING customers from transferring to a competitor because of an Rx coupon ... or doing Rx Ping-Pong out of necessity to save money or help cover cost of co-pays.

As mentioned at RxCoupons.Blogspot.com today, CVS now accepts at some locations competitor coupons even when your prescription is already at CVS. You don't have to TRANSFER a prescription away from them and then BACK to them to use a competitor's coupon. They will let you redeem the coupon just to keep you from leaving.

Thus, I have no choice but to give them FIRST place in this regard:

(1) CVS

(2) Giant Eagle

(3) Kmart

p.s.: Kroger would be tied for 3rd place but I have been told by former employees of theirs that they have banned customers from ever using coupons at their pharmacies again after a certain number. Also, I know that they have banned at least one customer from ever shopping at any Kroger again "because of an impasse" over that customer's use of "multiple coupons" at their pharmacies. How whacked is that? Go to CVS or Giant Eagle or Kmart. Or if you're tired of doing Rx Ping-Pong (I know I am), take all your business (or most of it) to CVS and stay there. After all, they have some 24-hour locations too that can be handy when you realize belatedly you are totally out of something.

UPDATE Saturday, Feb. 28

I'm updating this post today (Saturday, Feb. 28) after learning from a friendly pharmacy clerk at Giant Eagle that the district manager of pharmacies in Central Ohio has decided to be more customer friendly about Rx coupons.

They will no longer limit you to using just ONE competitor coupon per "offer period" (say 1 Target coupon during the 2 weeks and 1 day its good ... until the next one is published). And when a competitor puts an especially restrictive limit on a coupon (as Walgreen's recently started doing -- saying ONE per 6 months), they're OK with honoring multiple ones of these. As long as you are transferring 3 prescriptions and have 3 coupons from a competitor (or from Giant Eagle), you can use all 3 in one day.

As a result, I'm modifying my original ranking for this category:

(1) Giant Eagle

(2) CVS

(3) Kmart

Thanks to all three of these! Again, this is based on my experiences at locations in central Ohio -- mostly at locations along Henderson, Bethel, Sawmill, and Powell roads or in Dublin/Worthington/Westerville/Columbus.


As you can see at the "Which pharmacies accept competitors Rx coupons?" list, it's very complicated and changes often and can vary from location to location and pharmacist to pharmacist on duty when you stop by.

But at this time I can say the best places to utilize competitors coupons are:

(1) CVS

(2) Kmart

(3) Giant Eagle

See posting below about the WORST places to try to use competitors coupons ... and list of those that no longer take them or never did.

* [See update made on Feb. 28 above as edit to this original entry.]

The worst pharmacies to use for competitor coupons

This is based on experiences at various central Ohio pharmacies over the past two years ... but updated with the latest information I have about their newest policies.

WORST pharmacies for using competitor coupons at (even though they claim they accept them):

(1) Kroger (they were the only one that advertised in newspapers, flyers, and signs in their pharmacies that "We Gladly Accept All Competitors Coupons" and yet some pharmacists insisted that only one per day could be used ... or even fewer ... despite a pharmacy zone manager saying there was no limit; and then the regional pharmacy merchandise manager deciding to limit it and even ban a customer from going to Kroger over an "impasse" over use of coupons at their pharmacies). The last copy of the policy they finally created after pressured by a consumer complaint to the Better Business Bureau, they claimed that it's only an "introductory offer" and customers should choose a pharmacy to settle down with and quit expecting to have these granted within 3 to 4 visits. I've heard from a former Kroger pharmacy employee that many customers who were using a lot of coupons (those of Kroger or competitors) were banned from ever being able to use another Rx coupon to earn Rx Rewards. Some reward for doing business there, eh?

(2) Meijer is reportedly becoming very picky about taking these. No first-hand experience myself there recently. I couldn't stand how picky about coupons and how bad their service was 2 years ago.

These others just don't even accept competitors' coupons:

* Target (used to)

* Walgreen's

* WalMart (used to until Jan. 19, 2009)