Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: How to Afford Pirfenidone

Written by Lucia Mueller | Posted October 18, 2023

Pirfenidone (marketed under brand names Esbriet, Etuary, Pirfenex, Pulmofib, KitosCell LP, and Pirespa) is one of just two expensive medications available globally that can treat symptoms of an incurable lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Pirfenidone is an anti-inflammatory drug that reduces fibroblast proliferation. The other, nintedanib (marketed under brand name Ofev), is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that targets growth factor pathways. Both are incredibly expensive. This post will focus on savings opportunities available to the global consumer for pirfenidone. To compare prices for nintedanib and brand Ofev, click here

The first week upon starting pirfenidone, a patient will take 267mg; the second week, 534mg, eventually working their way up to the standard dose of 801mg per day. The most popular branded version of pirfenidone, called Esbriet, is very expensive no matter where you live. The United States leads the pack with a whopping $40.79 per 801mg pill, with Canada’s mail order price, although still expensive, coming in 60% cheaper – $16.33 per pill. The Turkish mail order price is only a bit cheaper than that: $15.47 per pill. 

With Esbriet’s U.S. patent expiring in 2021, American patients with IPF expected price relief through generic competition. That may be the case, but the U.S. generic cost is still double the Canadian mail order price. More affordable still is the generic pirfenidone sold at an Indian online pharmacy for $1.52 a pill. More generic entry across countries should work to alleviate costs in your local community. Until then, mail order looks like the best bet. All mail order pricing listed here is from online pharmacies accredited and monitored through the PharmacyChecker International Pharmacy Verification Program

Compare Pirfenidone Prices Internationally

Strength: 801mg Quantity: 270 capsules
Esbriet (brand pirfenidone) U.S. retail average $11,012.75
Generic pirfenidone U.S. pharmacy discount coupon $4,395.60
Esbriet (brand pirfenidone) International Mail Order (Canadian dispensing pharmacy) $4.409.99
Esbriet (brand pirfenidone) International Mail Order (Turkish dispensing pharmacy) $4,176.95
Generic pirfenidone International Mail Order (Canadian dispensing pharmacy) $2,089.50
Generic pirfenidone International Mail Order (Indian dispensing pharmacy) $410.40

PharmacyChecker Research, October 2023

If you are an American who cannot afford an expensive medication, some pharmaceutical companies offer patient assistance programs that cover all or part of the cost of their drugs. Talk to your doctor about your savings options, as there may be community programs that could help.

You may be interested in this PharmacyChecker blogpost: Pirfenidone: Why Is It $94,000 in the U.S., But $2,000 Elsewhere?

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Where is Esbriet (pirfenidone) made?

Our global pharmaceutical supply chain is both complicated and lacking in transparency. There are many generic manufacturers of pirfenidone, therefore, depending on the manufacturer, no matter where you live, your drug may have been made in India, New York (United States), or elsewhere. If you live in the United States, it’s likely that the brand Esbriet on your pharmacy shelves is manufactured in the U.S.

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Compare drug prices among reputable online pharmacies

This medication is under discussion by both my doctor and myself.
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