Exchanges & Medicine: Worth The Trip

March 29, 2014 | Kate Horrell

There is always plenty of debate about military exchanges selection, quality and prices.  There is one department where I always know I am getting a good deal:  generic pharmacy items.  The Navy Exchange, Marine Corps Exchange, and Army and Air Force Exchange generic brand pharmacy items are consistently less expensive than the equivalent products available in any civilian stores.

Let’s take the popular cold medicine Nyquil.  At Drugstore.com, 24 capsules retails for $8.99.  You can get Walgreen’s generic product for $7.29 (currently Buy One, Get One Half Off) or Walmart’s generic product for $3.97.  The same ingredients, in the same capsules, costs around $2.50 at the exchange.

My husband uses Gillette Sensor Excel-type razor cartridges.  A 10 pack of the name brand is $20.99 at Drugstore.com.  Apparently, it is hard to come by decent generics for these blades, but my husband is quite happy with the Exchange brand, which runs about $6 for 8 cartridges.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.  I am almost always happy with the quality of the exchange brand generic products, and the prices are great.  Whether it is antibiotic ointment, cough drops, or saline solution, it is definitely worth the trip to the exchange when you need to purchase basic pharmacy items.

Given the drastic differences in price, I find it is better to keep a good stock of lower-priced exchange products than to discover a need and have to buy things at the higher, out-in-town store prices.  You might find the same.