Anna Gamel | 

CVS vs. Walgreens Pharmacy: Here's How Their Prescription Prices Compare

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When it comes to choosing CVS vs. Walgreens for pharmacy or prescription needs, how does a smart shopper decide? We took a deep dive into both pharmacy programs to find out if CVS is cheaper than Walgreens for prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Plus, we examined their respective conveniences like CVS delivery and Walgreens pharmacy drive-thru.

We’ve already compared CVS vs Walgreens to see who has cheaper prices on almost everything (like toilet paper and Tide Pods). And we've also told you about the best things to buy at CVS. So now it's time to compare just their pharmacy perks.

Let’s look at the true pros and cons of CVS vs. Walgreens pharmacy. We'll consider price, convenience, and all else that matters to you. Then, you can pick the better pharmacy.

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Prescriptions: CVS is often cheaper than Walgreens.

Winner: CVS

CVS claims that over 85% of their prescriptions cost under $10 after insurance. Sure enough, when I looked up the CVS prices using GoodRx's comparison tool, I found that a 30-day supply of the popular thyroid medication, Levothyroxine, was $8.94 at CVS with a GoodRx card or $12 without one. At Walgreens, the same prescription would be $9.45 using a GoodRx card or $23.23 without one. So, for this thyroid prescription, you’d save anywhere from 5% to 48% by getting it filled at CVS.

Walgreens does have a tool that might help you get a discounted rate, though. The Walgreens’ Rx Savings Finder will help bring down the cost of most, if not all, prescriptions. Just search for your medication and a list of available savings will pop up, starting with the cheapest option. Click the best option to send the coupon to yourself, then have it scanned when you pick up your prescription. When using the Walgreens Rx Savings Finder tool, I found coupons for Levothyroxine ranging from $6.08 to $14.76 depending on which provider you choose for the coupon.

OTC Medications: CVS usually wins at regular price

Winner: CVS

CVS vs Walgreens Pharmacy Item Prices

Based on a side-by-side comparison of six identical over-the-counter meds, we found that CVS had the lower price 4 out of 6 times.

For example, Mucinex Sinus-Max was $18.49 at CVS compared to $21.99 at Walgreens, making it $3.50 cheaper at CVS. On the other hand, Tylenol Arthritis Pain was slightly cheaper at Walgreens, priced at $24.99 compared to $25.99 at CVS.

So, how can you balance out the prices on OTC meds or possibly save even more at Walgreens? It’s pretty easy.

When buying OTC meds, check out both store ads to see which store is offering a better deal. You can then stack printable and digital manufacturer coupons on sale items to bring prices down even more.

Convenience: Walgreens has the advantage with curbside pickup

Winner: Walgreens

When I’m picking up a prescription for a sick toddler with an ear infection, the last thing I want to do is get everyone out of the car to grab one medication. But Walgreens offers free curbside pickup. You can order online and have your order, including prescriptions and other items, brought to your car in as little as 30 minutes. Some locations even offer drive-thru.

CVS, on the other hand, doesn't provide curbside pickup for ANY orders — including pharmacy. While you can place orders online or via their app, you'll need to go inside the store to the checkout area to collect your items.

As for delivery costs, CVS has a slight advantage since they offer free same-day delivery for $5 per month (if you upgrade to the ExtraCare Plus membership), while Walgreens charges a per-order delivery fee.

If you don’t mind waiting a few extra days to get your prescription, the non-same-day CVS delivery is free.

But Walgreens charges you a delivery fee for prescriptions (for same-day delivery, 1 - 2 business day delivery, or 5 - 10 business delivery) if your order is under $35. Fees depend on your location, but start around $3.99 per delivery — or possibly free if your prescription pickup was delayed.

KCL TIP: In my experience, Walgreens' pharmacies tend to stay open at least a few hours later than CVS pharmacies, but this depends on your location.

Clinic Services

Winner: CVS

CVS offers same-day CVS MinuteClinic appointments or walk-in care.

You can visit a nurse practitioner or physician assistant at CVS MinuteClinics, which are located inside about 1,100 CVS stores. They can help with mild to moderate health concerns like strep throat or hypertension. They can also do health screenings, give shots, and write prescriptions. You can get these services during a walk-in or scheduled visit, and most insurances are accepted.

Walgreens only offers virtual appointments via their VillageMD clinic. You must make an appointment, but same-day appointments are available to treat mild issues like allergies or pink eye. Some Walgreens offer in-store care for minor injuries, burns, diabetes, or pain. The availability depends on your location. But, these in-store clinics are getting harder to find. 

Becker’s Hospital Review says there are only about 680 in-store VillageMD clinics at Walgreens. They plan to close 60 more locations in 2024. But, regular Walgreens pharmacies do offer immunizations. They also offer video chat appointments with pharmacists. The pharmacists will answer all your questions about prescriptions.

Rewards and Loyalty Programs

Winner: Tie

Both CVS and Walgreens offer rewards programs to earn cash-back benefits, which makes this point of comparison pretty much a tie.

CVS offers up to $50 in ExtraBucks Rewards for filling prescriptions there. When you’re an ExtraCare member, you can earn rewards at the pharmacy. Every four credits earns you $2 in ExtraBucks Rewards (essentially each credit is worth $0.50). You earn one credit for every fill (or refill) for a single prescription or if you add a family member (even a pet). You’ll earn three credits for getting a flu shot or other vaccine and for filling or refilling a 90-day prescription. ExtraCare Plus (the upgraded CVS reward program) will give you free same-day delivery, free shipping, and 20% off CVS Health brand products. 

The myWalgreens rewards program from Walgreens is also free. It offers 5% back on Walgreens brand items, including OTC medications. All other purchases give you just 1% back, but that includes pharmacy orders!

How CVS vs. Walgreens Pharmacy rewards benefits compare:



Rx purchases

Earn 2% in rewards

Earn 1% in rewards

OTC purchases

Earn 2% in rewards

Earn 1% - 5% in rewards


Get 3 credits (worth $1.50 EB)


30-day prescription fill/refill

Get 1 credit (~$0.50 EB)


90-day prescription fill/refill

Get 3 credits (~$1.50 EB)


Add a person or pet to your account

Get 1 credit (~$0.50)


Maximum rewards you can earn

Up to $50 EB per year

Up to $65 WC per year

TIP: You can get bigger perks with the myWalgreens Credit Card. You get 10% Walgreens Cash rewards on Walgreens brands and 5% Walgreens Cash rewards on other brands and prescriptions at Walgreens.

CVS vs. Walgreens Pharmacy: Which Is Better?

After looking at their prices, perks, and rewards, we found that Walgreens’ pharmacy is slightly easier to use, offering cheaper prices, longer hours, the convenience of curbside pickup, and quick delivery. Their website is user-friendly, offering easy setup for deliveries or recurring prescriptions, and a helpful Rx Savings Finder tool to lower your out-of-pocket prices.

On the other hand, if you're willing to upgrade to the CVS ExtraCare Plus membership for $5 per month, you can get extra cash back at CVS and convenient perks like free delivery. Plus, with CVS you have access to their in-store clinics and better prices on OTC medications and prescriptions.

So, if convenience and quick service are your priorities, Walgreens might be the better choice. However, for cheaper medicine, additional perks and clinic availability, CVS could be more appealing.

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