High Priced U.S. Generic Drugs Are Often More Expensive Than Brand Name Counterparts in Other Countries, According to a New Price Analysis by PharmacyChecker.com

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PharmacyChecker.com released new data today showing that U.S. generic drugs associated with a recent surge in prices are often much more expensive than their brand name drug equivalents in other countries. The price analysis was issued as the Senate convenes a hearing on the topic of skyrocketing generic drug prices.

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It might seem too good to be true but the fact is that consumers can and do buy the brand name versions of some of these high-priced generics online from licensed pharmacies in other countries at a discount of about 90%, despite federal prohibitions.

As the Senate prepares to hold a hearing about the increasing costs of many generic drugs, PharmacyChecker.com released new data showing that Americans are paying more for many generics than consumers pay for their brand name counterparts in other countries. PharmacyChecker.com verifies online pharmacies and compares prescription drug prices. Some generics cost close to 20 times more than the prices of brand name equivalents available from other countries.

The hearing, “Why are Some Generic Drugs Skyrocketing in Price,” will be held by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging on Thursday at 1pm. High drug prices in America are a leading cause of prescription non-adherence. According to the Commonwealth Fund, 50 million Americans did not fill a prescription due to cost in 2012 (Source: S. R. Collins, R. Robertson, T. Garber, and M. M. Doty, “Insuring the Future: Current Trends in Health Coverage and the Effects of Implementing the Affordable Care Act”, The Commonwealth Fund, April 2013).

Tod Cooperman, MD, president of PharmacyChecker.com, said, “Americans should not have to skip prescribed medications, brand or generic, due to cost. As we applaud the senators for seeking to discover why costs are on the rise for generic drugs, we encourage further inquiry into how Americans can afford medications they need but can’t afford today. It might seem too good to be true but the fact is that consumers can and do buy the brand name versions of some of these high-priced generics online from licensed pharmacies in other countries at a discount of about 90%, despite federal prohibitions.”

For example, the cash price for 90 pills of the drug budesonide, which treats asthma and other lung ailments, is $1,625 at a chain pharmacy in New York City. For just $155.70, the brand version, Entocort, marketed by AstraZeneca, can be purchased online from a verified international online pharmacy – a savings of over 90%. The cash price for 90 pills of the anti-depression medication clomipramine is $900 at a U.S. pharmacy in New York City. If purchasing from a verified international online pharmacy, the brand version of clomipramine, Anafranil is $45.90 – a savings of 95%.

See prescription drug price comparisons for 10 expensive U.S. generics and their international brand equivalents. [http://www.pharmacychecker.com/pdf/us_generic_foreign_brand_comparisons.pdf

Higher generic drug prices are often attributed to fewer drug manufacturers competing in the marketplace. The causes of lower competition include supply interruptions when the FDA finds manufacturing problems, consolidation among pharmaceutical companies that make the same drug, or low profitability of certain drug products. In some cases, higher generic drug prices are simply due to arbitrary price increases by retail pharmacies.

Federal law prohibits personal drug importation under most circumstances, but the practice is generally permitted and individuals are never prosecuted, according to the FDA (See http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2013/02/01/is-it-safe-to-use-an-overseas-pharmacy/). Peer reviewed studies have demonstrated the safety of international online pharmacies verified by PharmacyChecker.com.

PharmacyChecker.com was founded by Tod Cooperman, M.D. in 2002 to help consumers safely save money on medication by identifying the lowest drug prices from reputable online pharmacies. PharmacyChecker.com independently checks the credentials of online pharmacies and pharmacy discount cards and provides free and easy online comparisons of drug prices.

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

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