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Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
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New Study Shows International Online Pharmacies Are Safe As U.S. Pharmacies If Verified By

Properly Verified International Online Pharmacies Sell Genuine and Safe Medication

Last month, Roger Bate, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and head of the Safe Medicines Coalition, published the results of a study which tested and compared the quality of drugs purchased from online pharmacies in the U.S. and abroad, including pharmacies verified by third-parties and those not verified. The findings were clear: PharmacyChecker-approved international online pharmacies sell medications of comparable quality to U.S. online pharmacies verified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and LegitScript.

In fact, overall, the results were better for PharmacyChecker-verified pharmacies than for those verified by NABP and LegitScript. Results were dramatically worse for pharmacies with no third-party verification. The drug testing focused on generic versions of Lipitor (atorvastatin) and of generic Cipro (ciprofloxacin), which were ordered from the online pharmacies by the researchers. (more…)

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Generic Drugs Prices, Diminishing Returns?

Yesterday, AARP published its latest Rx Price Watch report, which highlights generic prescription medication price changes from 2006-2013. Generic medication is considered the best avenue towards lower taxpayer and consumer drug costs. In the mid-1980s, passage of the Hatch-Waxman Act helped bring lower cost generic medication to the market faster and fueled intense price competition among generic manufacturers. The result was 1) much lower drug prices on medications that have lost their patents (often 90% lower) and 2) an exceedingly high generic penetration rate with generics comprising 85% of all medication use. AARP’s report suggests that generic drug prices continue to decrease, which is good, but at a much slower rate, “indicating that the era of consistent generic drug price decreases may be coming to an end.”

Stay calm. Generics are still usually much lower cost than the brand names and that will continue to be the case. AARP’s report notes that 2013 had the lowest average generic price decrease (4.1%) since 2006. However, AARP’s data also shows considerable fluctuation in this rate, enough to question whether or not we’re really experiencing a new normal in which generic drug prices no longer decline year after year. For example, the decreases in average generic drug prices that occurred in the prior two years, 2011 and 2012, 9.1% and 14.5%, respectively, were the highest since 2006. These numbers, however, most likely reflect what’s referred to as the “patent cliff” – a time when many patents on blockbuster brand name drugs, such as Lipitor and Plavix, lost their patents, thus allowing much lower cost generics to enter the market. As I see it, we don’t really know the future trend of generic drug prices.

Again, most generic drugs are way cheaper than their brand name counterparts and just as safe and effective. The big generic drug problem is that the cost of some generics has spiked outrageously over the past few years, sometimes beyond the reach of the American consumer. Usually when we talk about insane price increases of brand name drugs year over year the percentages are 10, 20, 30 or even 40%. But the increases for some generics have literally been in the 2000% range! One crazy example, reported by the People’s Pharmacy, showed that the cost of the antibiotic doxycycline skyrocketed from six cents ($.06) to $3.30, a 5500% increase.

In fact, directing you back to our research from November 2014, we found that even brand name versions sold in foreign pharmacies can be MUCH lower cost than the generics sold here! Please keep in mind that those same generics mentioned in our analysis may have already come down in price domestically. So before you buy from an international online pharmacy, check your local pharmacy first.

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How to Save on Lipitor (Atorvastatin), Brand and Generic

For nearly a decade, Pfizer’s Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering medication, was America’s most popular brand name prescription drug. Americans spent a whopping $7.7 billion dollars on it in 2011 (and worldwide sales totaled about $11 billion). Since its U.S. patent expiration over a year ago, an increasing number of Americans have now shifted to lower cost generic versions. Still, some folks are sticking with brand name Lipitor. We’ve identified the best ways to save on brand name and generic Lipitor below.

Generic drugs are often preferable to brands because they are generally much cheaper even though they have the same active ingredients as the original. If you’re concerned about buying generic Lipitor because of the recent recall by Indian drug company Ranbaxy, you should know that there are other manufacturers who make generic Lipitor and generic Lipitor is still widely available. Moreover, it’s likely that Ranbaxy’s version will be back on the market soon. As a matter of personal preference and brand trust some people still prefer Pfizer’s Lipitor to the generic. What is most important is that you can afford and take the medicine that you need.

So where do the Lipitor and Atorvastatin savings stand now? (To skip to the summary of the savings, view the pricing chart).

Brand Lipitor

Online Savings Are Best
Even with generic competition, the cash price of Lipitor remains very expensive domestically – a 30-day supply of Lipitor 20mg is $226 at a local pharmacy in New York City. The absolute greatest savings on Lipitor is achieved by purchasing a three-month supply from an international online pharmacy, from which the lowest price found on is $68. Compare that to $678 at that local pharmacy in NYC and the savings comes out to 90% – over $2,400 annually!

Prescription Drug Discount Card/Coupon
The savings are not very substantial using standard discount cards and coupons. The highest discount we found for standard cards was 18%. However, Pfizer has a more significant savings program…

Pfizer’s Lipitor For You
Pfizer has a Lipitor discount program called Lipitor For You. The program can help you save money, but its marketing is a little deceptive. It claims to lower your out-of-pocket expenses to $4 for a one-month supply of Lipitor. Well, it can do that, and sometimes does. In reality, the Pfizer discount card is actually a $75 coupon, which can reduce your out-of-pocket expense to a minimum of $4. However, if your copay is high enough – over $79 – you will pay more than $4. If you don’t have insurance and the cash price is $226 then the discount of $75 will bring down the cost to $151 – a 33% discount. With Pfizer’s Lipitor program, savings are twice as large as using a normal discount but not as a great as using an international online pharmacy.

Bottom Line: For brand name Lipitor, the maximum savings are found either at an international online pharmacy or the Lipitor For You program, depending on whether or not you have insurance.

Generic Lipitor

Like the brand, the generic cash price can also be very high at local pharmacies — $157.99 at that same NYC pharmacy mentioned above, which is way more expensive that the brand version internationally! While conducting the drug price research for this blog post, the New York City pharmacist we spoke with even agreed; before stating the generic Lipitor price, he said, “It’s very expensive!” Here’s what you can do…

Buying Generic Lipitor Online A Great Deal!
As far as ordering generic Lipitor 20mg online goes, the U.S. has great prices – a three-month supply for $36. The international price is a little lower at $33 ,but you may also have higher overall costs because international shipping fees are higher, not to mention much longer waiting times

Local Pharmacies With A Discount Card Also A Great Deal!!
We’ve discovered that purchasing at your local pharmacy using a discount card is also a great deal – a 30-day supply is about $14.50, and a 90 day supply is $36.50. Keep in mind that when buying locally there are no wait times or shipping fees.

Bottom Line: When it comes to generic Lipitor, our research shows great deals both online and at the local pharmacy so it’s up to you to determine whichever way is most convenient and desirable.

To summarize, discount coupons and online pharmacies in the U.S. or abroad all offer pretty much the same savings on atorvastatin – the generic of Lipitor. When it comes to ordering the brand name version, the best savings depend on a variety of factors. If you have insurance, it depends on your co-pay amount, with the Lipitor For You program offering a great option. If you don’t have insurance and need to pay the cash price in the pharmacy, then Pfizer’s Lipitor from international online pharmacies is clearly your best deal. It will save you about $2,400 a year! Just make sure the online pharmacy is verified by an independent third party, such as those listed on

Brand Lipitor 20 mg Savings (90 day supply)

Program Price Savings over Local Pharmacy Percent savings Annual Savings
Local Pharmacy $677.97
Discount Card Option $555.50 $122.47 18% $489.88
Coupon Option $532.68 $145.29 21% $581.16
U.S. Online Pharmacy $500.30 $177.67 26% $710.68
International Online Pharmacy: $68.00 $609.97 90% $2,439.88

Local pharmacy in New York City, International Online Pharmacy price as found on Prices collected 12/13/2012

Generic Lipitor (Atorvastatin) 20 mg Savings (90 day supply)

Program Price Savings over Local Pharmacy Percent savings Annual Savings
Local Pharmacy $157.99
Discount Card Option $36.50 $121.49 18% $485.96
Coupon Option $36.50 $121.49 18% $485.96
U.S. Online Pharmacy $36.00 $121.99 18% $487.96
International Online Pharmacy: $32.90 $125.09 18% $500.36

Local pharmacy in New York City, International Online Pharmacy price as found on Prices collected 12/13/2012

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