White Plains, NY - April 28, 2021 - A GAO report released today, requested by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), shows that brand name drugs are two to four times more expensive in the U.S. than in three other high-income countries. As a corollary, PharmacyChecker evaluated 10 of the drugs from the GAO report to compare average U.S. pharmacy retail prices against the lowest prices currently available at credentialed international online pharmacies. The average potential savings among these 10 drugs is 89%. One example is Breo Ellipta, a medication used long term to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It can be ordered internationally for 93% less than the average retail price in the United States. The products selected for evaluation are those for which ordering from international mail-order pharmacies is both practical and safe.
Under federal law, Section 804 (J) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Congress declares that the FDA “should… exercise discretion to permit individuals to” import prescription drugs for their own use that do “not appear to present an unreasonable risk to the individual.” Through peer review and a decade of testing international prescription drug orders, personal importation is found to be safe when consumers receive good guidance about credentialed online pharmacies. About 2.3 million Americans import medication each year, according to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“We resoundingly applaud Senator Sanders for helping shine a light on the outrageous international drug price discrepancies under which too many Americans suffer,” stated Gabriel Levitt, president and co-founder of PharmacyChecker.com, a company that has been verifying international online pharmacies and comparing their prices since 2003. “These lower international drug prices are accessible online from licensed pharmacies in Canada and other countries. Unfortunately, too few Americans are properly informed about personal importation, which leads to potentially millions of prescriptions unfilled due to cost. The GAO report and all efforts to bring drug price transparency and competition to the market are central to the battle plans of advocates who seek justice for Americans on drug prices.
Personal Rx Import Price Comparisons
Online International Pharmacy/U.S. Drug Prices Comparisons
|Drug Name (Strength, Quantity)||U.S. Pharmacy Retail Price||Canadian Online Pharmacy Price||Lowest International Pharmacy Price||Potential Savings with Imports (%)|
|Breo Ellipta (100mcg/25mcg, 3 inhalers)||$1337.02**||$357.95||$92.99||93%|
|Spiriva Respimat (2.5mcg, 3 inhalers)||$1682.55**||$229.99||$135||92%|
|Xarelto (15mg, 90 tablets)||$1729.80*||$294.99||$153||91%|
|Pradaxa (150mg, 180 capsules)||$1674*||$399.99||$154.53||91%|
|Myrbetriq (50mg, 90 tablets)||$1444.50*||$263.74||$141.05||90%|
|Invokana (100mg, 90 tablets)||$1911.60*||$339.95||$216||89%|
|Entresto (24mg/26mg, 180 tablets)||$2042.68*||$774.95||$396||86%|
|Janumet XR (50mg/1000mg, 180 tablets)||$1728*||$381.95||$255.60||85%|
|Anoro Ellipta (62.5mcg/25mcg, 3 inhalers)||$1559.56**||$334.99||$232||85%|
|Incruse Ellipta (62.5mcg, 3 inhalers)||$1264.80**||$229.99||$198.05||84%|
|Average Potential Savings Amongst These 10 Drugs||89%|
Price data collected April 27, 2021. U.S. prices based on the “average retail price” listed on PharmacyChecker and GoodRx; prices marked with “*” are from PharmacyChecker, and those marked with “**” are from GoodRx. Canadian and other international online pharmacy prices are the lowest prices listed on PharmacyChecker from licensed pharmacies that sell to Americans. All online pharmacies for which prices are provided are accredited in the PharmacyChecker Verification Program.
Method used to collect data
Ten drugs that are suitable and practical for safe personal drug importation were selected from the GAO Report. For each drug and strength, researchers recorded the lowest price listed on www.pharmacychecker.com. PharmacyChecker and GoodRx data were used to identify average U.S. retail prices. PharmacyChecker data was used to identify international online pharmacy prices. International online pharmacy prices include medications approved for sale in any of the following countries: Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Turkey, the United Kingdom, or the United States. Canadian prices in the table are those of medications shipped from pharmacies located only in Canada.
PharmacyChecker is the only independent company that verifies the credentials of international online pharmacies and publishes price comparisons between those pharmacies and local U.S. pharmacies. PharmacyChecker accreditation and price comparisons have been widely recommended and referenced in the media and by consumer health experts, including in AARP Magazine, the New York Times, the People’s Pharmacy, Yahoo Finance, and others.