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Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
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Nexium OTC or Prescription Nexium: Singing the Generic Blues as Esomeprazole Magnesium Stays Purple

Last June we wrote about how Americans taking Nexium – AstraZeneca’s multibillion dollar proton pump inhibitor that treats gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) – were losing out on savings due to the FDA’s postponement of a generic version in the U.S. market. Well, it looks like they’re going to wait even longer to find generic copies of the Purple Pill at local pharmacies (and the generic versions probably won’t be purple!). Initially, Indian pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy held exclusive marketing approval to sell generic Nexium in the U.S., but they were banned from actually selling it due to poor manufacturing practices. Well, last week the FDA revoked both Ranbaxy’s approval and its marketing exclusivity for generic Nexium. That might be good for the Purple Pill’s profits (say it fast) – but it leaves consumers singing the blues.

Cash paying Americans are left with the following domestic options: Prescription-strength (40 mg), Nexium or Nexium OTC (20 mg). Prescription-strength Nexium will run you about $600 for 60 pills. That’s a ridiculous price. It’s only $70 to get 126 capsules of Nexium OTC! So, can you just buy Nexium OTC instead of prescription-strength Nexium and just take two pills?

You might be able to, but you need to ask your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. I asked my local pharmacist if I could just take OTC Nexium instead, and without hesitation she said I could, but that it may not be as effective and that it comes as a tablet rather than a capsule. The OTC version also has different inactive ingredients, I was told, so if you are allergic to any of those, you should stick with the 40 mg version. She suggested OTC Nexium if I couldn’t make a trip to my doctor or if my insurance didn’t cover prescription Nexium. Even if Nexium is covered, it might be a tier 2 or 3 drug, which could result in your co-pay being higher than the OTC cost.

We’d feel remiss in not reminding you that there are a plethora of proton pump inhibitors on the U.S. market, many that come at a much lower price tag.

But if you need to stick with prescription-strength 40 mg Nexium, it is available from international online pharmacies: 60 pills would be about $50, so it’s actually a better deal than Nexium OTC in the U.S. It’s worth noting that just like the OTC 20 mg pill, the 40 mg purple pill is sold as a tablet, not a capsule, in many foreign markets. You can view our comparisons of Nexium prices.

Hopefully we see these delays sorted out, and a generic version of 40 mg Nexium finally come to market in America. Until then, Nexium OTC at your local drugstore or ordering from an international online pharmacy may be your best options to avoid the drug price blues.


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American Toprol XL…a Swedish Product of India?!

Toprol XL

Toprol XL, a prescription drug that treats high blood pressure and is shown to lower the risk of heart attacks, is in the news due to recalls of some generic versions and because some doctors are finding the generics doesn’t always work as well as the brand. Consumers taking a generic version (metoprolol succinate extended-release),  might want to switch back to the brand, but that could raise their drug bills substantially

The issue has also re-ignited the topic of problems with Indian drug quality. Wockhardt and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, both based in India, have pulled 100,000 bottles of their respective metoprolol succinate extended-release products because their pills were not dissolving properly. For extended release drugs, this can be a big problem with a drug’s efficacy.

So where can you buy an American made version of this drug? I believe that would be very hard to do. Brand name Toprol XL sold on U.S. pharmacy shelves is a product of Swedish company AstraZeneca and, according to the drug’s labeling, made in India. There are American companies that make metoprolol succinate as well, such as Mylan, but they manufacture the drug in India, too. Some Toprol XL generics were made in America, but that didn’t work out so well due to manufacturing problems here at home.

Dollars and Sense – You can save 70% on the brand!

In the U.S., generic metoprolol succinate costs about 45 cents a pill. If you want brand name Toprol XL (100mg), the cost is  about $2 apill.  However, if you only want the brand name product and want to spend a lot less, it can be purchased from a verified international online pharmacy for as little as 60 cents a pill, just a bit more than the cost of a generic in the U.S., and a 70% savings on the U.S. brand price.

Compare Toprol XL drug prices on all strengths on

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American-Made Prescription Drugs Are Available At Much Lower Cost From Foreign Pharmacies

Crestor Manufactured in the U.S., but Cheaper AbroadDo pharmacies outside the U.S. sell many of the same drugs sold at your local pharmacy? Of course. In fact, a good number are manufactured right here in the U.S. and then distributed for sale in other countries. Americans who buy them internationally can get the same drug but, typically, at a much lower cost.

We thought it would be helpful to identify some of these popular prescription brand medications that Americans personally import online for their own use that are manufactured in the good ol’ USA. We’ll be posting about one such drug each week.

Let’s start with Crestor (40 mg), a cholesterol-lowering drug manufactured by AstraZeneca. The packaging of this product shows that it was manufactured in the United States. The price of Crestor at a local New York City pharmacy for a 3-month supply is $679.99; at one of the international online pharmacies verified by the price is $140.04 – that’s a 79% savings! Alternatively, if you want to buy locally, you can get it with a free discount card for $538.43.  There is no low-cost generic equivalent to Crestor available in the U.S.

Although Federal law technically prohibits Americans from purchasing this American-made drug internationally, no one, according to the FDA, has ever been prosecuted for doing so.

Keep checking our blog to learn about other American-made medications sold by international online pharmacies that require your valid prescription, and the incredible savings they offer. To find all U.S.-manufactured drug products researched for this series click here.

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