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U.S. Wholesale Pharmacies and Licensed Canadian Pharmacies Average 60% Savings over Medicare Prices

  WHITE PLAINS, NY — May 4, 2004 — A review by of the discounted prices recently released on the new Medicare drug card website found that U.S. consumers save significantly more by shopping at U.S. wholesale pharmacies and Canadian pharmacies. Compared to the best prices on the Medicare website, prices on five popular drugs averaged 60% lower among licensed, top-rated pharmacies listed on The savings ranged from 44% to 78%, as shown below. The best savings on brand name drugs were from Canada, while the best savings on generic drugs were from U.S. wholesale pharmacies.
Drug Lowest Medicare Card Prices Lowest Prices (Country) Savings
Lipitor (20mg) 100 pills $296.07 $167.08 (Canada/New Zealand) 44%
Premarin (.625) -- 100 pills $79.67 $17.84 (Canada) 78%
Vioxx (25mg) -- 100 pills $254.28 $124.36 (Canada) 51%
Fluoxetine (20mg) -- 100 pills -- Generic $32.33 $14.94 (U.S.) 54%
Lisinopril (20mg) -- 100 pills -- Generic $72.15 $17.69 (U.S.) 75%
Sources: Medicare Approved Drug Discount Cards website and prices from licensed pharmacies listed on

Explaining the price differences:
Despite Medicare drug card discounts, Canadian drug prices on brand name drugs are lower due to government price controls. Some Canadian pharmacies also partner with foreign pharmacies to achieve even greater discounts. The price listed above on Lipitor is from a Canadian pharmacy sourcing the drug from a New Zealand pharmacy -- the standard Canadian price on Lipitor is about $10 higher.

Generic drug prices on the Medicare website tend to be high because they are discounted off an inflated average wholesale price (AWP). The lowest generic drug prices on are from wholesale pharmacies that typically acquire products at far lower than the AWP and charge only a small mark-up. Canadian generic prices tend to be higher than U.S. prices because Canada has fixed generic prices while the U.S. generic market is extremely competitive. is privately held and based in White Plains, New York. It has no ownership in or from companies that sell or distribute pharmacy products. Its ratings and price comparisons are available to online subscribers at Its ratings will also be published in paperback this June in Guide to Low-Cost Canadian and U.S. Pharmacies 2004. The guidebook can be pre-ordered from 800-431-1579 also publishes a business-level PriceTracker report, which provides price trends and analyses on Canadian and U.S. pharmacies. To order a PriceTracker report contact Gabriel Levitt, Director of Research at (718) 387-4526.