PharmacyChecker Blog

Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
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The Patent Cliff Means U.S. Pharmacies are Increasingly a Lower Cost Option

Generic prescriptions are on the rise, as doctors are prescribing them, and pharmacies are filling them, now more than ever. We recently wrote that the percentage of generic scripts being dispensed rose to 78% last year. But the popularity for generics – attributed to the significantly lower price tag compared to brand name drugs – is expected to take on a whole new meaning, as the patents for some blockbuster brand name drugs expire this year; this is also known as the “Patent Cliff”.

The biggest prize, Pfizer’s Lipitor (for Cholesterol), the number one selling drug in the U.S., goes generic later this year (November 2011); and Plavix (a blood thinner) and Actos (for Diabetes) will follow (May 2012 and August 2012, respectively). As patents run out, these and other popular prescription drugs will be far more affordable in the U.S., since generic drug prices tend to be lower here than in other countries. (more…)

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Avandia and Actos: Online Safety and Affordability

The diabetes drug Avandia has been making headlines due to some longstanding safety and side effect concerns. Some doctors and diabetes patients may now be considering alternative medication, such as Actos.  We think it is important to point out that both drugs cost thousands of dollars per year, and that the price of Avandia, as well as Actos, at U.S. pharmacies is about 5 – 10 times higher than in some other countries.  That in itself is a safety concern – as these drugs remain out of reach to many Americans. Furthermore, people who may switch to Actos will find that it is nearly twice as expensive as Avandia.

The National Diabetes Information Clearing House states, “According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes spend an average of $11,744 a year on health care expenses—more than twice the amount spent by people without diabetes.” What’s more, a 2004 study by researchers at the University of Michigan and Veterans Affairs shows that about one in five older diabetes patients cannot afford necessary medications. Out of 812 people surveyed (50 years and older), 20% said they had skipped prescriptions in the past, almost one-third said they had to limit basic needs like heat and food, and 10% borrowed money, all to cover the costs of their diabetes medication. (more…)

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