Newly Approved Generics: Cost and Lack of Availability in the United States

Generic medications that have been approved by the FDA are still not available in the U.S. These same medications are available and affordable to order from abroad.

Faster generic drug approvals are often looked to as a key part of the solution to high drug prices. Clearly, the faster a patented drug product faces competition, access to lower cost versions should follow. Yet FDA approval of a generic neither ensures its availability nor affordability. In fact, newly approved generic drugs in the U.S. are sometimes not available on the market for years after their approval; and those that are available can cost over eight times more than the lawfully-manufactured brand versions sold in Canada, and ten times more than those offered in other countries.

Expanding on research conducted by Kaiser Health News, PharmacyChecker conducted price research on 40 generic medications that were approved from 2017-2018 to illustrate cost options American consumers have at the pharmacy counter. The research focuses on price comparisons between U.S. pharmacies and those available to Americans who order medication from accredited pharmacies located in Canada and other countries.  

While it is best that patients and caregivers obtain medicines domestically, international pharmacy options should be considered if the medication is not affordable within the United States.


The FDA should be applauded for faster generic drug approvals, but, for potentially millions of Americans, our report shows major cost and availability barriers to those generic drugs.

- Gabriel Levitt

PharmacyChecker is the only independent company that monitors and verifies the credentials of international online pharmacies and publishes price comparisons between those pharmacies and local U.S. pharmacies. The service also offers a free discount card for use at local pharmacies in the U.S. PharmacyChecker accreditation and price comparisons have been recommended and referenced by AARP Magazine, the New York Times, the People’s Pharmacy, Yahoo Finance, and others.

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