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  CANADIAN PHARMACIES MAY LOSE PRICE COMPETITIVE EDGE IN 2004 ON SOME DRUGS DUE TO MEDICARE DISCOUNT CARDS, ACCORDING TO PHARMACYCHECKER.COM.

Price Comparisons and Ratings from Both Countries Listed on PharmacyChecker.com

  WHITE PLAINS, NY — December 22, 2003 —New research by PharmacyChecker.com, which evaluates U.S. and Canadian online pharmacies and compares their prices, shows that the discount cards promised to Medicare recipients next year as a temporary drug benefit will weaken the price competitiveness of Canadian pharmacies on several popular brand name drugs. If the new cards fulfill their promise of 15%-25% discounts on prescription drugs, U.S. consumers will do better shopping for certain drugs at home.

PharmacyChecker.com's Canadian Online Pharmacy Price Trend Report — 3rd Quarter 2003 looked at 50 top-selling drugs from 10 major drug companies. While the report is about Canadian, not U.S. pharmacy prices, PharmacyChecker.com Director of Research, Gabriel Levitt noted that "a surprising number of Canadian drug prices were already very close to U.S. prices. Canadian pharmacies still offer prices that are as much as 80% lower than U.S. prices, but for some popular drugs, such as Fosamax, U.S pharmacies can be quite price competitive."

Brand Name Prescription Drugs Avg. U.S. Price * Avg. U.S. Price With 15% Discount Avg. Canadian Price* Price Difference
(U.S. Discount Card vs. Canadian)
Advair Diskus (100mcg, 60 doses) — for asthma
$114.35
$97.20
$101.21
-$4.01
Cozaar (50mg, 90 pills) — for high blood pressure
131.64
$111.89
$119.43
-$7.54
Fosamax (10 mg, 30 pills) — for osteoporosis
$70.42
$59.86
$58.65
+$1.21
Norvasc (5mg, 90 pills) — for high blood pressure
$123.70
$105.14
$109.09
-$3.94
Zestril (10mg, 100 pills) — for high blood pressure
$102.00
$86.70
$88.05
-$1.35
Source: PharmacyChecker.com Research
* Shipping fees not included. Average shipping fees: U.S. - $1.14, Canadian - $13.74



However, consumers should bear in mind that prices vary greatly among Canadian pharmacies, in part because supply restrictions are affecting some more than others. For example, for the asthma drug Advair Diskus (250mcg/50mcg — 60 doses), Canadian prices listed on PharmacyChecker.com range from $82.76 to $128.45. The average price in the U.S. is $114.35, indicating that the pharmacy used may be more important than the country in which it is located.

Tod Cooperman, M.D., President of PharmacyChecker.com commented, "There are many factors that will affect drug prices in 2004. Drug company supply restrictions in Canada and the Medicare discount cards in the U.S. could greatly narrow the price gap between the two countries. On the other hand, don't expect Canadian pharmacies to lay down dead. They are already lowering or eliminating shipping fees and using tactics to avoid being targeted by drug companies. The important thing is for consumers to shop around and, most importantly, find a licensed pharmacy."

PharmacyChecker.com is privately held and based in White Plains, New York. It has no ownership in or from companies that sell or distribute pharmacy products. Individual subscriptions to PharmacyChecker.com are available online. To receive a copy of PharmacyChecker.com's Canadian Pharmacy Price Trend Report — 3rd Quarter 2003, or order group subscriptions, contact Gabriel Levitt, Director of Research by email at gabriel.levitt@pharmacychecker.com telephone at 718-387-4526.