Increasing U.S. Prices and Declining International Prices Cause Widening Price Gap. Consumers Given Guidance on How to Safely Save on Prescription Medicine
White Plains, New York - March 24, 2011 — By purchasing online, cost savings on ten of the most popular brand name medications now average 80% according to PharmacyChecker.com. This compares to savings of 73% in 2008. The greatest savings over U.S. bricks and mortar retail pharmacies is achieved using international online pharmacies, many of which are based in Canada. Potential savings currently range from 73% to 92% across popular products, as shown in PharmacyChecker.com’s newly published report, How To Save Money on Prescription Drugs, Safely – A Consumer Guide.
Several factors contribute to the widened gap between U.S. and international drug prices: Price increases in the U.S. were 8.3% annually from 2006 to 2010 according to the United States Government Accountability Office. At the same time, governments in many of countries have instituted aggressive price controls. Furthermore, online pharmacies traditionally dispensing from Canadian pharmacies, have expanded their networks, filling prescriptions from licensed pharmacies in other countries offering lower prices, including those in Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
As shown in the Consumer Guide (Table 1), annual savings on brand name medicines can easily amount to thousands of dollars. For example, a three-month supply of Actos (for diabetes) and Advair Diskus (for asthma) from a U.S. bricks and mortar pharmacy costs about $826 and $603, respectively, with a combined annual cost of $5,716. At the lowest cost international online pharmacy on PharmacyChecker.com, respective prices are $134.65 and $87.30, with a combined annual cost of $887.80, and an annual savings of $4,828.16, or 84.4%.
In contrast to brand name medication prices, the Guide shows that Americans buying generic drugs save more money shopping among U.S. online pharmacies than using foreign pharmacies. For example, a three-month supply of simvastatin (the generic of the cholesterol-reducer Zocor) is $193.99 at a retail pharmacy in New York City, compared to $9.90 at Wal-Mart or just $9.75 at Costco.com (Table 2).
PharmacyChecker.com’s President and Founder, Tod Cooperman, M.D., said, “Since we began our work in 2002, drug prices have continued to rise in the U.S. According to a report from the U.S. Center for Disease Control, the number of Americans not taking medication due to cost rose to 25 million in 2009. Our website and our new Consumer Guide, both of which are free, can help Americans afford medication so they don’t go without treatment.” As noted in the Guide, consumers should be aware that despite the federal statute banning the practice, it is FDA’s policy not to prosecute individuals for personal drug importation. Before buying online, however, consumers should look for the PharmacyChecker.com seal (or the VIPPS seal for U.S.-only pharmacies) to make sure they are buying from pharmacies with verified credentials following safe practices. The Guide lists additional savings opportunities including Medicare Part D, pharmaceutical discount programs, state programs, and discount cards.
PharmacyChecker.com helps Americans find the best drug prices from verified online pharmacies. PharmacyChecker.com’s pharmacy ratings and drug price comparisons are free to consumers. PharmacyChecker.com is a privately held company based in New York with no ownership in or from companies that sell or distribute pharmacy products
|Table 1: Safe Savings on Popular Brand Name Drugs (Based on 90-Day Supply)|
|Drug||U.S. Bricks and Mortar Pharmacy Price||Best U.S. Online Pharmacy Price on Pharmacy-Checker.com||U.S. Online Savings||Best International Online Price on Pharmacy-Checker.com||Inter-national Online Savings|
|Lipitor (20 mg) – Cholesterol reducer||$535.99||$462.39++||14%||$85.70||84%|
|Nexium (40 mg) – Anti-reflux/ulcer||$621.00||$565.97||9%||$54.90*||92%|
|Plavix (75 mg) – Anti-stroke/MI||$598.99||$543.20++||9%||$141.30*||76%|
|Singulair (10 mg) – Anti-asthma||$491.99||$408.08||17%||$127.80*||74%|
|Seroquel (300 mg) – Antipsychotic||$1,420.99||$1,286.16||9%||$379.49||73%|
|Advair Diskus (250/50mcg, 180 doses) – Anti-asthma||$826.00||$694.17||16%||$134.65||84%|
|Abilify (10mg) – Antipsychotic||$1,820.99||$1,612.31||11%||$358.20*||80 %|
|Crestor (20mg) – Cholesterol reducer||$487.00||$414.95++||15%||$95.04*||80%|
|Cymbalta (60mg) – Antidepressant||$545.00||$471.88||13%||$143.00*||74 %|
|Actos (15 mg) – Diabetes control||$602.99||$479.86||20%||$87.30*||86%|
|Sources: PharmacyChecker.com); Bricks and mortar prices at CVS pharmacies located in New York City (Prices collect between December 2010 and February 2011).
+ Calculated from price quoted for 60 pills
*Calculated from price quoted for 84 pills
++ Calculated from price quoted for 100 pills
|Table 2: Safe Savings on Popular Generic Drugs – (Lowest Price in Bold) (Based on 90-Day Supply)|
|Drug (Condition Treated) – (common brand version)
per 90 Pills (Unless Otherwise Specified)
|U.S. Bricks and Mortar Pharmacy Price||Best Price from Wal-Mart or Other Generic Program||Best U.S. Price (on PharmacyChecker.com)||Maximum Savings|
|Lisinopril (20 mg) – (for hypertension) – Prinivil, Zestril||$51.00||$10.00||$9.85*||81%|
|Bupropion (150 mg) – (for depression) – Wellbutrin, Zyban||$371.00||$40.00||$63.00+||89%|
|Fluoxetine (20 mg) – (for serious depression) – Prozac||$45.49||$10.00||$8.40||82%|
|Simvastatin (40 mg) – (Cholesterol-reducer) – Zocor||$193.99||$9.90||$9.75*||95%|
|Levothyroxine (100 mcg) – (Treats thyroid conditions) – Synthroid||$38.49||$10.00||$9.75*||75%|
|Losartan (50mg, 90 pills) – (for high blood pressure) – Cozaar||$180.00||$172.78||$19.02||89%|
|Sertraline (50mg, 90 pills) – (for depression) – Zoloft||$98.59||$28.72||$22.58||77%|
|Acetaminophen and Hydrocodone (10-325 mg) – (for serious pain relief) – Vicodin||$80.59||$68.64||$26.10++||68%|
|Atenolol (50 mg) – (for heart conditions) – Tenormin||$26.69||$10.00||$7.03||74%|
|Alendronate (70 mg, 12 pills) – (for osteoporosis) – Fosamax||$150.00||$24.00||$17.00||89%|
|Sources: PharmacyChecker.com, Walmart.com and Walmart.com Prescription Drug Price List PDF, price check with Wal-Mart in New Jersey. Bricks and mortar prices at CVS pharmacies located in New York City. Prices collected between December 2010 and February 2011.
*Calculated from price quoted for 50 pills
+ Calculated from price quoted for 60 pills
++Calculated from price quoted for 100 pills