Drugs Being Dropped by U.S. Insurers in 2017 Are Available Outside of U.S. for One-Quarter the Price, According to PharmacyChecker

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Medications that will be dropped from the formularies of major PBMs are often 75% less in pharmacies outside the U.S., according to new drug price data analysis by PharmacyChecker.com.

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If you are unable to switch to another drug and can’t afford the new price, be aware that the same drugs are available online at much lower cost from licensed pharmacies in other countries

Many Americans will be shocked in January when they are told to pay more for a single pill than they used to pay for an entire month’s supply of their medication due to formulary changes being made by major pharmacy benefits managers. Often, however, these drugs are already available from licensed pharmacies outside the U.S. at prices 74% lower on average than in the U.S., according to an analysis by PharmacyChecker.com.

“If you are unable to switch to another drug and can’t afford the new price, be aware that the same drugs are available online at much lower cost from licensed pharmacies in other countries,” said Tod Cooperman, M.D., CEO of PharmacyChecker.com.

The antidepressant Effexor XR (75 mg), for example, which is being dropped by CVS Caremark, costs about $11 per pill in the U.S. Licensed pharmacies sell the same pill for $3.25 in Canada, $1.80 in the UK, and just 65 cents in Turkey.

10 Drugs Being Dropped by Insurers in 2017 -- U.S. vs. Canada Prices

Xenazine (Tetrabenazine) 25 mg cost 94.86 per pill in the U.S. vs. $6.86 in Canada

Nexium (Omeprazole Magnesium) 40mg cost $6.90 per pill in the U.S. vs. $2.87 in Canada

Crestor (Rosuvastatin - 10mg cost $6.82 per pill in the U.S. vs $2.58 in Canada

Effexor XR (Venalfaxine) - 75mg cost $10.96 per pill in the U.S. vs. $3.25 in Canada

Abilify (Aripiprazole) - 5mg cost $29.88 per pill in the U.S. vs. $7.54 in Canada

Pradaxa (Dabigatan) - 150 mg cost $5.94 per pill in the U.S. vs. $3.13 in Canada

Tasigna (Nilotinib) Dose Pack - 150mg cost $93.84 per pill in the U.S. vs. $35.57 in Canada

Ventolin HFA (Albuterol) inhaler - 90 mcg cost $73.19 per pill in the U.S. vs. $35.10 in Canada

Zyclara Pump (Imiquimod) - 3.75%* cost $1,040.83 per pill in the U.S. vs. $414.75 in Canada

Xtandi (Enzalutamide) - 40mg cost $77.84 per pill in the U.S. vs. $40.50 in Canada

For all prices in analysis see: https://www.pharmacychecker.com/news/medications-dropped-from-pbms-2017-cost-less-outside-u.s.asp.

Sources: List based on formulary exclusions announced by CVS Caremark, except for Zyclara, which is being excluded by Express Scripts; U.S. prices shown are lowest prices from licensed pharmacies in Brooklyn, NY. Prices for other countries are from PharmacyChecker.com Verified Pharmacies, which require a valid prescription.

The largest potential savings -- 97% -- is for Xenazine (tetrabenazine), a drug that treats involuntary movements caused by Huntington’s Disease. In the U.S., the price is about $95 per pill, compared to $1.87 in New Zealand.

According to a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 19 million Americans report importing a medication for personal use, but the practice, according to the FDA, remains illegal under most circumstances. Lawfully manufactured medications imported for personal use from Canada and other countries are considered unapproved by the FDA. FDA spokesperson Christopher Kelly states, "FDA is not aware of any actions taken against an individual resulting from their purchase of small quantities of unapproved drugs for personal use." [1]

PharmacyChecker.com, founded in 2002, provides consumers with information to assess and compare online pharmacies and save money on medication.

For more information, contact Gabriel Levitt, President, PharmacyChecker.com at 718-387-4526 or gabriel.levitt(at)pharmacychecker(dot)com.

[1] “Should You Use an Overseas Pharmacy,” MoneyTalksNews.com, 2/1/2013. See http://www.moneytalksnews.com/is-it-safe-to-use-an-overseas-pharmacy/.

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