Generic Drugs 68% Cheaper in U.S. Than From Canada

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PharmacyChecker advises patients in the U.S. to look locally for generics, internationally for brand name medications.

While I’m very proud of the work we do at PharmacyChecker to protect patients who go online looking for the safest international online pharmacies, as a U.S. pharmacist I’m thrilled to help patients stay local when they can.

Americans can save more money on generic drugs at U.S. pharmacies than ordering online from Canada according to new research by PharmacyChecker.com which compared prices on the top-selling generic drugs. Eighty-eight percent of the top prescribed generics were cheaper in the U.S. than from Canada. Prices on brand-name medications; however, are far lower at Canadian and other international online pharmacies than in the U.S.

In its analysis of the 40 most commonly filled generic prescriptions in the U.S., researchers at PharmacyChecker compared U.S. pharmacy prices obtainable with a free drug discount card to prices (shipping included) at Canadian and other international pharmacies accredited in the PharmacyChecker Verification Program. For six of the 40 drugs, price comparisons were not possible because two are not available in Canada and four are controlled drugs, which are not permitted for sale into the U.S. by PharmacyChecker-verified sites.

Among the remaining 34 generic drugs, prices were lower in the U.S. for 30, or 88%, of the drugs. Prices to obtain these drugs locally were, on average, 68% lower at U.S. pharmacies than from accredited Canadian pharmacies.

See Full Chart: Generic Drug Prices in U.S. vs. Other Countries

Examples include the second most commonly dispensed prescription drug in the U.S., lisinopril, a blood pressure medication that can be purchased locally for $10 per 100 pills (10 mg) compared to $72.84 from online Canadian pharmacies. The U.S. cost for a three-month supply of pantoprazole sodium (40 mg), a popular proton pump inhibitor, was $17.61 in the U.S. vs. $171.24 from Canada.

When price comparisons were expanded to include PharmacyChecker-accredited pharmacies in other countries, such as the UK, Australia, Turkey, and India, prices were generally lower than those from Canada, but remained higher than those in the U.S. except for four drugs. For most of these; however, the differences were within $2 of the U.S price. Only pravastatin (40 mg) was considerably less expensive from a country other than the U.S. or Canada: The cost for 90 pills was $22.50 shipped from Australia versus $37.77 in the U.S. or $137.31 from Canada.

Unlike brand name medications and first-to-market generics (which get 180 days of market exclusivity), there is intense price competition among multiple manufacturers for most other generic drugs in the U.S. While the Canadian Patented Medicine Prices Review Board controls the prices for medicines under patent (brand name drugs), it does not control prices on generics. With its smaller market, fewer manufacturers compete, which explains higher generic drug prices in Canada.

“At PharmacyChecker, we believe that Americans should take advantage of the best drug prices from safe pharmacies worldwide. It is terrific when some of these prices are right here at local pharmacies, as we’ve found with many generics,” said PharmacyChecker CEO and Founder Tod Cooperman, MD.

Shivam Patel, PharmD, Director of the PharmacyChecker Verification Program, added, “While I’m very proud of the work we do at PharmacyChecker to protect patients who go online looking for the safest international online pharmacies, as a U.S. pharmacist I’m thrilled to help patients stay local when they can.”

About PharmacyChecker

PharmacyChecker is the only independent company that monitors and verifies the credentials of international online pharmacies and publishes price comparisons between those pharmacies and local U.S. pharmacies. It also offers a free 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.

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Lucia Mueller
@pharmacychecker
since: 04/2009
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