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How can I get a lower Pataday (olopatadine) price? Does it require a prescription?

Answered by Rebecca Farley | Reviewed by a licensed U.S. pharmacist | Posted April 29, 2020

For the uninsured in the U.S., olopatadine prices run around $161.95 for a 2.5 ml eye dropper. And that’s if you are buying generic. If you opt for the brand-name version -- called Pataday -- you’ll be hit with an even higher bill. The brand costs an average of $241.10 for a single eye dropper. This is exceedingly high for a drug meant to treat a relatively low-key condition: eye itchiness brought on by seasonal allergies.

 

Fortunately, the generic can be found for far cheaper than its brand-name counterpart, both abroad and using the PharmacyChecker Discount Card at your local U.S. pharmacy. At international online pharmacies accredited through the PharmacyChecker Verification Program, you can get an almost 91% discount on 2.5ml of the same drug. Locally, the same size dropper could go for as little as $27.14, an 83% discount. Discovering such huge discounts can come with apprehension. We encourage you to learn why drug prices are so high in the U.S. and why even prices inside the U.S. differ pharmacy to pharmacy.

 

 

Comparing Pataday (olopatadine) Prices

Drug Strength Quantity Average U.S. Retail Price PharmacyChecker U.S. Discount Card Price Lowest Accredited International Pharmacy Price Greatest Percentage Savings
Pataday 0.2% 2.5 ml eye dropper $241.10 $130.95 $16.56 93%
Olopatadine 0.2% 2.5 ml eye dropper $161.95 $27.14 $14.15 91%

Sources: Average U.S. Retail Price calculated based on pricing on GoodRx.com. PharmacyChecker U.S. Discount Card Price based on availability at pharmacies near New Orleans, Louisiana. Lowest Accredited International Pharmacy Price based on prices listed on PharmacyChecker.com.

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Does Pataday have a generic counterpart?

Yes. The FDA approved olopatadine ophthalmic solution for distribution in 2015.

Does insurance cover Pataday?

Pataday is listed as an excluded drug on the ExpressScripts drug formulary, which means many insurance providers (all of them that use ExpressScripts) will not cover it. CVS Caremark has olopatadine listed as an alternative option to the drug Alrex, which is a steroid used to treat eye itchiness. Alrex is not covered by CVS Caremark, but olopatadine and its iterations are. In other words, you may find it difficult to obtain coverage for Pataday. Check with your insurer to see if Pataday is listed in your formulary. If you cannot get coverage, you are in luck: you may order the brand name drug from an PharmacyChecker-accredited international pharmacy (if the brand name is important to you) at cash price. As demonstrated in the chart above, the brand name can be found for an impressive 93% discount at pharmacies abroad. International pharmacies do not accept your U.S. health insurance -- you always pay cash. Please note that while the U.S. is closing its borders to the COVID-19 crisis, mail, including prescription drugs, can still make it into your mailbox.

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What is Patanol? Can it be used in place of Pataday?

Patanol is olopatadine at a lower concentration. The Patanol solution is only at 0.1%, whereas Pataday is 0.2%. Additionally, Patanol is packaged as a 5ml dropper instead of Pataday’s 2.5ml droppers. The two drugs are both manufactured by Alcon, a pharmaceutical company with a focus on eye care, but they have a steep difference in price. If you thought Pataday was expensive, listen to this: Patanol has an average retail price of over $300.

 

 

The two drugs are effectively the same drug, save for a few details. Patanol, per Alcon pharmaceuticals, has proven to treat red eyes in addition to itchiness, whereas Pataday treats just the itchiness itself. If your provider prescribes Patanol, you should be able to request a Pataday prescription instead. Though, bear in mind, even Patanol can be found for much lower prices abroad. Additionally, the generic of both,olopatadine, is dramatically cheaper.

 

Comparing Patanol (Olopatadine 0.1%) Prices

Drug Strength Quantity U.S. Average Retail Price PharmacyChecker Discount Card Price Lowest Accredited International Pharmacy Price Greatest Percentage Savings
Patanol 0.1% 5 ml dropper $373.35 $293.15 $22.45 94%
Olopatadine 0.1% 5 ml dropper $216.64 $21.97 $11.33 95%

Sources: Average U.S. Retail Price calculated based on pricing on GoodRx.com. PharmacyChecker U.S. Discount Card Price based on availability at pharmacies near New Orleans, Louisiana. Lowest Accredited International Pharmacy Price based on prices listed on PharmacyChecker.com.

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Can I get Pataday without a prescription?

At some point in the future, yes. In February 2020, Alcon pharmaceuticals announced that the FDA had approved two Pataday products for over-the-counter distribution. The two products will be marketed as Pataday Once Daily Solution and Pataday Twice Daily Solution. Pataday Twice Daily is effectively Patanol (the 0.1% concentration) and Once Daily will be Pataday (the 0.2% concentration). These drugs were said to be available at your local drugstore starting March 2, 2020. At a glance, more than ten Walgreens near New Orleans, Louisiana carried Pataday Once Daily Relief. Three Walgreens locations near Houston, Texas carried the over-the-counter solution, and only three locations near Manhattan, New York had the solution in stock. Both products are out of stock online at both Walgreens and CVS.

What is Pazeo?

Pazeo is our old friend olopatadine back at it again, this time masquerading as a 0.7% solution. It was developed as an effort to “increase the duration” of allergy relief, per the FDA, which approved it for distribution in 2015. It does not have a generic counterpart and sells for an average U.S. retail price of $245.50 for one 2.5ml dropper. A clinical trial of Pazeo suggested that it brought longer-lasting allergy relief than Pataday did. It is manufactured by Novartis, the parent company of Alcon.

 

Comparing Pazeo (Olopatadine 0.7%) Prices
Drug (generic) Strength Quantity U.S. Average Retail Price PharmacyChecker Discount Card Price Lowest Accredited International Pharmacy Price Greatest Percentage Savings
Pazeo (olopatadine) 0.7% 2.5 ml eye dropper $245.50 $208.34 $51.66 78%

Sources: Average U.S. Retail Price calculated based on pricing on GoodRx.com. PharmacyChecker U.S. Discount Card Price based on availability at pharmacies near New Orleans, Louisiana. Lowest Accredited International Pharmacy Price based on prices listed on PharmacyChecker.com.

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Where is Pataday manufactured? What about Patanol?

Both the generic Pataday and generic Patanol sold in the U.S. are made in India, according to their respective packaging found by PharmacyChecker. Per its packaging as well, Patanol sold in the U.S. appears to be manufactured in Japan.

 

 

Learn more about eye drop prices and Canadian online pharmacy safety

How can I determine where a drug is manufactured?

Can a pharmacy fill a prescription early?

How and where can I buy prescription medication without a prescription?

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