Faster FDA Approvals Did Not Lead to Price Reductions or Availability in 43% of Cases

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PharmacyChecker publishes white paper concerning newly approved generic cost and lack of availability in the United States

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The FDA should be applauded for faster generic drug approvals, but, for potentially millions of Americans, our report shows major cost and availability barriers to those generic drugs.

Expanding on research conducted by Kaiser Health News (KHN), PharmacyChecker has published a white paper that examines prices and affordability of newly approved generic drugs. The report, based on 40 generic medications that were approved from 2017-2018, clearly shows that generic drug approvals often do not lead to greater affordability or even access. The research focused on price comparisons between U.S. pharmacies and those available to Americans who order medication from pharmacies located in Canada and other countries.

In addition to the key findings, the paper provides insight on why generics are approved but may not be available; why newly approved generics are still expensive; ways patients can access affordable newly approved generics; the safety of personal medicine imports from accredited international online pharmacies; and brand versus generic drug quality across different countries.

The white paper findings, based on data gathered by PharmacyChecker researchers in March 2019, shows that 43% of generic drugs approved in 2017-2018 (about 700 of 1600 drugs) were not yet on the market, mirroring the findings of Kaiser Health News. KHN’s research contended that this forces Americans to pay the brand-name price. As an option for those who cannot afford it, PharmacyChecker found that 25% (10) of the generic medications were available online, internationally through pharmacies that are accredited in the PharmacyChecker Verification Program.

Read the white paper: Newly Approved Generics: Cost and Lack of Availability in the United States

Sixty percent (24) of the brand-name versions were available at online pharmacies accredited in the PharmacyChecker Verification Program. Of those, 23 brand-name drugs available internationally cost on average 74% less than the brand version sold in the U.S. Of those, 14 of the brand-name drugs available internationally cost on average 73% less than the U.S. generic versions.

The new generic version of Effient (prasugrel), which treats blood clots, costs $398.69 for 30 tablets in the U.S. compared to $590.20 for the brand version. The average Canadian pharmacy price for brand Effient is $96.66; the lowest brand price among accredited international pharmacies is $69.60. The lowest price for generic Effient (prasugrel) from these online pharmacies is $24.90.

“The FDA should be applauded for faster generic drug approvals, but, for potentially millions of Americans, our report shows major cost and availability barriers to those generic drugs. For those forced to contend with and cannot afford the brand price, and do not qualify for patient assistance programs, they have a safe international pharmacy option,” stated PharmacyChecker president Gabriel Levitt, an advocate for prescription drug affordability in the United States.

About PharmacyChecker

PharmacyChecker is the only independent company that monitors and verifies the credentials of international online pharmacies and publishes drug price comparisons between those pharmacies and local U.S. pharmacies. The service also offers a pharmacy discount card for use at local pharmacies in the U.S. PharmacyChecker accreditation and price comparisons have been recommended and referenced by AARP Magazine, the New York Times, the People’s Pharmacy, Yahoo Finance, and others.

About the PharmacyChecker Verification Program

International online pharmacies accredited through the PharmacyChecker Verification Program process prescription drug orders that are filled by licensed pharmacies, which require a valid U.S. prescription from American patients. Pharmacies selling controlled drugs internationally to the U.S. are not eligible for PharmacyChecker accreditation. Accredited online pharmacies are verified and monitored for marketing claims, privacy policies, data security, pharmacist consultation availability, and other high standards of online pharmacy practice.

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Lucia Mueller
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