“Migraine” by Sasha Wolff from Grand Rapids – Can’t Concentrate: 14/365. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Dr. David Belk, a practicing physician in California, healthcare cost research guru and Huffington Post blogger, recently wrote a story about the huge difference in price faced by one of his patients when trying to fill a prescription for the migraine medication called Maxalt (rizatriptan). Since my daughter suffers from migraines, I know how debilitating migraine headache can be and how important it is to have the medication when you need it.
Essentially, Dr. Belk discovered that Walgreens, a big chain pharmacy, was charging much more money than another pharmacy – in this case Costco. The price for the generic at Walgreens without insurance was $1,490 for 40 pills, or $37 a pill, and even with insurance the price was almost $17 dollars a pill. But Dr. Belk’s patient ended up getting the medication at Costco for $1.03 per pill!!
Now ordinarily here’s where we’d write about how you might consider PharmacyChecker- verified international online pharmacies to purchase Maxalt or rizatriptin if you don’t have insurance – but you would not need to. According to Dr. Belk’s post, Costco’s price was the cash price! None of the online pharmacies in our program sell it for just over a buck a pill. It’s the cheapest in the U.S.A.!
A few months back, Tod Cooperman, MD, founder of PharmacyChecker.com was on Fox and Friends talking about another big chain pharmacy, one accused of overcharging consumers for generic medications. It seems that the problem is not just Big Pharma but Big Pharmacy.
Drug prices these days seem to be all over the place. The moral of this story: shop around as much as possible and don’t trust your friendly neighborhood chain pharmacy or assume that international online pharmacies are cheapest. I know it’s enough to give you a headache, even a migraine, but finding the lowest drug prices will help lessen the pain.
Tagged with: Dr. David Belk, Drug Prices, Huffington Post, maxalt, migraine, rizatriptan, Tod Cooperman, walgreens
Contrary to the belief of the pharmaceutical industry and their minions, PharmacyChecker.com is not a champion of foreign online pharmacies, even the safest ones. They just charge a lot less for medication, which helps American consumers stay healthy and avoid bankruptcy. But they are, like their U.S. pharmacy counterparts, just businesses.
And that brings us back to our blog topic from last week, which was Daraprim, the parasite-fighting drug that, in the blink of an eye, went from $13.50/pill to $750/pill in the U.S. a few weeks back. We wrote what seemed impossible: a 99.8% international pharmacy savings on a medication. When we published that post, the price of Daraprim, manufactured and marketed by GlaxoSmithKline in Europe, was $1.53 a pill at the lowest cost international online pharmacy in the PharmacyChecker Verification Program. Well, those international online pharmacies jacked their prices, too…kind of.
As PharmacyChecker founder Tod Cooperman, MD, was writing an article for the Huffington Post about Daraprim, prescription drug importation and overall drug affordability problems, we discovered that the online price of Daraprim 25mg jumped from $1.53 a pill to $6 bucks! An increase of 292%.
It was reported that the villain of this whole story, the head of Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company that owns Daraprim in the U.S., was planning on lowering the price of Daraprim, which appeared to be an almost necessary public relations move. I called chain pharmacy giant Walgreens today expecting that the price would be less than $750 but found out that the price was actually $796/pill.
So the potential international drug price savings on Daraprim has plummeted from 99.8% to 99.25% A little Rx irony to end our week here at PharmacyChecker.com.
Tagged with: cooperman, deraprim, Huffington Post, turing, walgreens
The International Federation of Health Plans released data yesterday that compares the costs of healthcare around the world. Thankfully, The Huffington Post and Vox.com chose to cover this. While the Huffington Post article merely adds more proof that America has high drug prices, the Vox article points out something that we’ve been talking about for a long time: the U.S. pays more for the same exact products found in other countries. Sarah Kliff writes, “There’s nothing different about the Nexium that we buy in the United States and the pill that the Dutch buy – except that, in the United States, we’re terrible at negotiating a good deal on pretty much any medical service.”
Interestingly, there is sometimes a difference in various countries’ versions of Nexium: it is often sold as a tablet in Europe compared to a capsule in the U.S. Both products are made by drug giant AstraZeneca. There are many instances where the exact same drug, made in the United States, is astronomically more expensive domestically than internationally. To show you, just hop on the time machine to our series Made in America; Cheaper Abroad.
Tagged with: American Made Prescriptions Are Cheaper Abroad, Huffington Post, Nexium, Vox.com