A NEW US-style pharmacy is to charge customers a membership fee in exchange for cheaper medicines.
Regular patrons purchasing inhalers, stomach drugs and cholesterol-lowering medication stand to make significant savings, it is claimed.
The Healthwave chemist in Dundrum, Dublin, says that it will be able to match the prices charged by stores in the North.
Pharmacist Shane O'Sullivan intends to charge consumers a €25 annual membership fee and then offer discounts at the till.
He said that prices will drop by as much as 50pc because his store will primarily offer generic medicine and focus on keeping overhead costs low.
For example, a month's supply of cholesterol lowering Atorvastatin 10mg would retail at €4.95 to members compared to a typical pricetag of €10.42 in many other pharmacies -- a saving of €66 over a year.
And a month's supply of blood pressure drug Ramipril 10mg would cost members €4.95 rather than a more typical price of €13.89, a saving of more than €100 in a year.
For asthma sufferers a months's supply of Montelukast 4mg would cost €4.95 compared to a normal price of €25.65 for non-members -- a saving of nearly €250 in a year.
Mr O'Sullivan said the €25 fee is refundable if you do not save that much over the year.
"We want to make medicines cheaper so that people do not have to travel to the North to buy them, and we would hope to get a high volume of repeat business as a result," he said.
The savings quoted were for its healthpass membership scheme compared to the prices his pharmacy would charge one-off customers which would be in line with those charged in some big pharmacy chains -- although prices can vary considerably.
Mr O'Sullivan said that he had a keen interest in technology and would also offer an app shortly, allowing customer re-order prescriptions online, as well as offering pill reminder alerts and barcode price scans.