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PharmacyChecker.com Reports Decrease in Brand Name Drug Prices From Canadian and Other International Online Pharmacies

 

73% Average Savings Potential Compared to U.S. Pharmacy Prices


 

 

White Plains, New York - 8:00 AM ET MAY 25, 2010 — In stark contrast to rising U.S. brand name drug prices, prices on brand name medication from online pharmacies dispensing from abroad have decreased over the past 18 months according to analyses by PharmacyChecker.com, the leading independent evaluator of online pharmacies.  Looking at ten popular brand name medications, prices on eight products decreased by 7% to 26% and increased for only two products (Table 1).  During the same period, U.S. pharmacy prices increased by 7% to 24%, or an average 15% excluding Prevacid which dropped in price due to generic competition (Table 2). The increase in U.S. prices is consistent with figures recently reported by AARP.  Potential savings by American consumers now averages 73% on brand name drugs purchased from Canadian or other international online pharmacies compared to domestic bricks and mortar pharmacies (Table 3). 


The price decline is based on comparisons for ten drugs that appeared in PharmacyChecker.com’s 2008 report “Safe Strategies for Drug Savings.”  In 2008, a 90-day supply of Lipitor was available online for $112.  It is now available for only $104, a 7% decrease and a 77% savings over the U.S. retail price, which is $456.  The potential dollar savings for an American paying out-of-pocket for Lipitor is $1,408 per year.  Looking across an updated list of popular brand name drugs (Table 3), potential online savings ranges from 62% to 91%.


“Canadian and other international online pharmacies allow Americans to shop the world for the lowest drug prices. They have the advantage of identifying countries with the lowest prices on brand name prescription drugs and dispensing from those countries,” said Gabriel Levitt, Vice President of PharmacyChecker.com.


Online prices were obtained from the PharmacyChecker.com price database for pharmacies approved in the PharmacyChecker.com Verification Program.  Such pharmacies are licensed in their respective countries, require a valid prescription from the patient, and meet requirements for the security of online transactions and patient privacy.  Recent independent research by Roger Bate of the American Enterprise Institute has shown the safety of Canadian and other international pharmacies when verified by PharmacyChecker.com (See “Limited Personal Importation by The Uninsured Makes Sense”, The American).


High drug costs are a major cause of prescription non-compliance.  To reduce costs, Americans purchase millions of prescriptions from online pharmacies in the U.S. and abroad.  Although technically illegal, the U.S. government has not targeted individuals who buy non-controlled medication from non-US pharmacies for their personal use.  Federal legislation to legalize personal drug importation has been proposed, but has failed to pass despite high-profile support. President Obama supported legalizing drug importation during his presidential campaign, as did Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as a Congressman from Illinois, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius when she was Governor of Kansas.    

 

Table 1: Changes In International Online Pharmacy Drug Prices Over 18 Months (90-Day Supply)


Prescription Drug, Quantity (Medical Use) – Distributor

Lowest Online Price on Pharmacy-Checker.com
Nov. 2008¹

Lowest Online Price on Pharmacy-Checker.com
May 2010

Change

Lipitor (20 mg) - (Cholesterol reducer)

$112

$104

-7%

Nexium (40 mg) - (Anti-reflux/ulcer)

$74

$58+

-22%

Prevacid (30 mg) - (Anti reflux/ulcer)

$128

$100+

-22%

Plavix (75 mg) - (Anti-stroke/MI)

$116

$187+

61%

Singulair (10 mg) - (Anti-asthma)

$145

$133+

-8%

Seroquel (300 mg) - (Antipsychotic)

$305

$378

-24%

Effexor XR (150 mg) - (Antidepressant)

$158

$169+

7%

Lexapro (10 mg) - (Ant-depressant)

$109

$95+

-12%

Actos (15 mg) - (Diabetes control)

$154

$132+

-14%

Protonix (40 mg) - (Anti-reflux/ulcer)

$107

$79

-26%

Average Change

 

 

-2%

Sources: Top 10 brand name drugs in 2007 sales.  Drug prices from PharmacyChecker.com database.
¹90-day supply price based on pro-rated per pill cost for 100 pills.
+90-day supply price based on pro-rated per pill cost for 84 pills

 

Table 2: Changes In Domestic Pharmacy Drug Prices Over 18 Months (90-Day Supply)


Prescription Drug, Quantity (Medical Use) – Distributor

US Bricks and Mortar Pharmacy
May 2010

US Bricks and Mortar Pharmacy³
November 2008

Change

Lipitor (20 mg) - (Cholesterol reducer)

$456

$406

12%

Nexium (40 mg) - (Anti-reflux/ulcer)

$621

$552

13%

Prevacid (30 mg) - (Anti-reflux/ulcer)

$202

$515

-61%

Plavix (75 mg) - (Anti-stroke/MI)

$571

$489

17%

Singulair (10 mg) - (Anti-asthma)

$473

$409

16%

Seroquel (300 mg) - (Antipsychotic)

$1277

$1028

24%

Effexor XR (150 mg) - (Antidepressant)

$531

$456

16%

Lexapro (10 mg) - (Ant-depressant)

$342

$316

8%

Actos (15 mg) - (Diabetes control)

$535

$469

14%

Protonix (40 mg) - (Anti-reflux/ulcer)

$481

$422

14%

Average Change

 

 

7%

Sources: Top 10 brand name drugs in 2007 sales. Drug prices from PharmacyChecker.com database. ³90-day supply price based on pro-rated per pill cost for 100 pills.


Table 3: Prices and Potential Savings on Current Popular Brand Name Drugs (90-Day Supply)


Prescription Drug, Quantity (Medical Use) – Distributor

Local New York Retail Chain Pharmacy

Lowest Online Price on Pharmacy-Checker.com

Potential Savings Online

Lipitor  20mg, 90 (High cholesterol) – Pfizer

$456

$104

77%

Nexium 40mg, 90 (Acid reflux) – Astra Zeneca

$621

$58±

91%

Synthroid 137mg, 90 (Hyperthyroidism) –  Abbot

$85

$23§

74%

Lexapro 20mg, 90 (Depression) – Forest

$356

$135±

62%

Singulair 10mg, 90 (Asthma) – Merck

$473

$133±

72%

Plavix 75mg, 90 (Heart disease) – Bristol- Myers Squibb – Sanofi Aventis

$571

$174±

70%

Advair Diskus 250/50mcg ,180 doses (Asthma) – GlaxoSmithKline

$780

$155±

80%

Diovan 160mg, 90 (High blood pressure) –Novartis

$288

$99±

66%

Effexor XR 75mg, 90 (Depression) – Wyeth

$510

$127±

75%

Crestor 20mg, 90 (High Cholesterol) – Astra Zeneca

$435

$152±

65%

Average Savings

 

 

73%

Sources: Top 10 dispensed, non-controlled brand prescription drugs in 2008.  IMS Health as reported in PharmacyTimes May 15, 2009. Prices from PharmacyChecker.com and a retail chain pharmacy in New on April 29, 2010.
±90-day supply price based on pro-rated per pill cost for 84 pills
§90-day supply price based on pro-rated per pill cost for 100 pills


Founded in 2002 by Tod Cooperman, M.D. to help 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 based in New York and is a privately held company with no ownership in or from companies that sell or distribute pharmacy products.