White Plains, NY – January 18, 2018 – Dozens of drugs that do not have generic alternatives have recently been removed from the formularies of two large pharmacy benefit managers, Express Scripts and Caremark. This leaves Americans who need these drugs having to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars out-of-pocket per month for those medications. However, researchers at PharmacyChecker.com have found that some of the dropped drugs can be purchased from licensed pharmacies outside the U.S. for a fraction of the U.S. price.
A single tablet of the type 2 diabetes drug Jardiance, for example, costs $17.33 in the U.S. but can be purchased from licensed pharmacies in Canada for as little as $3.33, an 81% savings.
An 800 mg capsule of the kidney disease drug Renagel is $8.88 in the U.S., but just $2.11 if ordered from Canada.
Even lower prices are available for some drugs when purchased from licensed pharmacies in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, and India.
"High drug costs are a major contributor to nonadherence among patients. Verified international online pharmacies often offer lower prices, making drugs more affordable," says Kelly Ann Barnes, a licensed pharmacist in Massachusetts who oversees the PharmacyChecker Verification Program.
|Medications||Cost Per Unit||Savings|
|Dulera * (mometasone & formoterol) 200 mcg/5mcg 120-dose inhaler||$322||$250||22%|
|Forteo ** (teriparatide) 20mcg/dose, 2.4mL pen||$3780||$1550||59%|
|Jardiance * (empagliflozin) 25mg tablet||$17.33||$3.33||81%|
|Nevanac ** (nepafenac) 0.1% 3mL bottle||$295||$51 i||83%|
|Renagel ** (sevelamer carbonate) 800mg capsule||$8.88||$2.11 ii||76%|
|Synjardy * (empagliflozin & metformin) 12.5mg/1000mg tablet||$8.50||$5.05 iii||41%|
* Drug dropped by CVS Caremark
**Drug dropped by Express Scripts
i. Available for $45 if ordered from Turkey; $45 if ordered from India
ii. Available for $0.87 if ordered from Turkey
iii. Available for $4.85 if ordered from Australia, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom
Approximately 20 million Americans have imported medication to save money. Although buying medications internationally is federally prohibited, individuals have not been prosecuted for filling prescriptions internationally.
Other options that should be considered by consumers seeking a drug no longer covered by their insurers include discount cards at local U.S. pharmacies and patient assistance programs, which are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies and are generally geared toward lower-income individuals without health insurance. Consumers should also consider therapeutic alternatives that may be available within their prescription coverage plan in consultation with their providers.
PharmacyChecker.com is the only independent company monitoring and verifying the credentials of international online pharmacies and publishing the prices at which drugs are available from these licensed pharmacies. PharmacyChecker was founded in 2002 by Tod Cooperman, M.D. to assist Americans searching online to save money on medication. PharmacyChecker's verifications and price comparisons have been referenced by AARP Magazine, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and others.