The cost of buying the same medication can vary significantly from one pharmacy to the next and consumers are advised to shop around to get the best deals, say officials.

CTV News called around to a few pharmacies to find out the pricing on a popular cholesterol medication and one for blood pressure, with both in a 90 tablet supply.

Atacand blood pressure medication cost $122.46 at Safeway, $132.45 at Shoppers Drug Mart and $108.38 at Costco.

Lipitor cholesterol medication cost $166.85 at Safeway, $190.29 at Shoppers Drug Mart and $150.82 at Costco.

CTV News asked Costco why its prescription drugs were cheaper.

Pharmacist Greg Wells says the company has a set profit margin it aims for and any additional funds raised are used to benefit members with lower prices on products.

Even if a customer is not a member of Costco, they still are able to pay the same price since a membership is not required to access the pharmacy.

Another factor contributing to the differing costs in drugs among pharmacies are the dispensing fees for prescriptions, which vary from $9.60 at Safeway to $12 at Shoppers Drug Mart and $4.49 at Costco.

Manitoba currently does not have a cap limiting dispensing fees in the province.

"The market influences the prices so people have a choice. The Competition Bureau says those kinds of things drive prices down for the benefit of patients," says Kim Sharman with Manitoba Health.

A promotional campaign will also soon be launched with posters encouraging people to ask about medication prices and why they cost specific amounts.

The pharmacies CTV News contacted explain that their dispensing fees reflect the costs of offering additional services.

Shoppers Drug Mart says its dispensing fees are based on the fact it offers services like convenient hours, patient counseling, free delivery and patient call backs.

Safeway says that it offers more services beyond what a shopper would typically find at another low-cost pharmacy, including a privation consultation area, specialists in diabetes and blood-pressure management and keeping in stock lower volume medications that aren't as profitable.

Costco says it also offers clinics and will order any drug people may need, whether it's low volume or not.

The three pharmacies contacted by CTV News reflect only a portion of the pharmacies in operation.

Officials advise consumers to shop around and to consider if the dispensing fees charged are worth the services offered to them.

- with a report from CTV's Eleanor Cooopsammy