Claim: The price of generic drugs can vary widely from one pharmacy to the next.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2003]
On Monday night (July 22), Steve Wilson, an investigative reporter for
Mr. Wilson did a thorough research, and checked out all the major drugstore chains, discount chains, independent pharmacies, and even checked on some Canadian pharmacies. So often, we blame the drug companies for the high cost of drugs, and usually rightfully so. But in this case, the fault clearly lies with the pharmacies themselves.
For example, if you had to buy a prescription drug, and bought the name brand, you might pay $100 for
At the end of the report, one of the anchors asked
I went to the Costco site, where you can look up any drug, and get it’s online price. It says that the
I would like to mention, that although Costco is a “membership” type store, you do NOT have to be a member to buy prescriptions there, as it is a federally regulated substance. You just tell them at the door that you wish to use the pharmacy, and they will let you in.
Origins: As the popularity of this
The basic facts laid out in the message quoted above are true. Steve Wilson, a reporter with
charged for certain generic drugs. For example, the Prescription Drug
Comparison shopping applies to generic drugs just as much as it does to food, clothing, DVDs, automobiles, or any other product. Those willing to do some hunting around get the best prices, and many drug comparison sites are available on the web to help consumers compare the costs of various drugs at different retail outlets before submitting their prescriptions (although medical insurance or HMO restrictions may limit which pharmacies a covered patient can use). Price differences between pharmacies can’t necessarily be chalked up to nothing more than mere greed, however — some pharmacies offer additional levels of service (such as staying open
Although we can’t guarantee that Costco always has the lowest prices on generic drugs, it is generally true that their pharmacy will fill prescriptions for
Later versions of this message had the following table added to the beginning:
The Cost of Prescription Drugs Did you ever wonder how much it costs a drug company for the active ingredient in prescription medications? Some people think it must cost a lot, since many drugs sell for more than $2.00 per tablet. We did a search of offshore chemical synthesizers that supply the active ingredients found in drugs approved by the FDA. As we have revealed in past issues of Life Extension, a significant percentage of drugs sold in the United States contain active ingredients made in other countries. In our independent investigation of how much profit drug companies really make, we obtained the actual price of active ingredients used in some of the most popular drugs sold in America. The chart below speaks for itself.
Brand Name of Drug
Consumer Price/100 tabs
Cost of General
Celebrex 100 mg $130.27 $0.60 21,712%
Claritin 10 mg $215.17 $0.71 30,306%
Keflex 250 mg $157.39 $1.88 8,372%
Lipitor 20 mg $272.37 $5.80 4,696%
Norvasc 10 mg $188.29 $0.14 134,493%
Paxil 20 mg $220.27 $7.60 2,898%
Prevacid 30 mg $44.77 $1.01 34,136%
Prilosec 20 mg $360.97 $0.52 69,417%
Prozac 20 mg $247.47 $0.11 224,973%
Tenormin 50 mg $104.47 $0.13 80,362%
Vasotec 10 mg $102.37 $0.20 51,185%
Xanax 1mg $136.79 $0.024 569,958%
Zestril 20 mg $89.89 $3.20 2,809%
Zithromax 600mg $1,482.19 $18.78 7,892%
Zocor 40mg $350.27 $8.63 4,059%
Zoloft 50mg $206.87 $1.75 11,821%
The Cost of Prescription Drugs
Did you ever wonder how much it costs a drug company for the active ingredient in prescription medications? Some people think it must cost a lot, since many drugs sell for more than $2.00 per tablet. We did a search of offshore chemical synthesizers that supply the active ingredients found in drugs approved by the FDA. As we have revealed in past issues of Life Extension, a significant percentage of drugs sold in the United States contain active ingredients made in other countries.
In our independent investigation of how much profit drug companies really make, we obtained the actual price of active ingredients used in some of the most popular drugs sold in America. The chart below speaks for itself.
This chart is of dubious accuracy and has little relevance (other than an inflammatory one), as far more goes into the retail pricing of drugs than the raw cost of their active ingredients. Pharmaceutical companies expend money on the research and development costs of creating the drugs, plus the overhead costs of manufacturing, marketing, and shipping them; as well, pharmacies must sell drugs for more than their wholesale prices in order to cover the overhead costs of store operations (including pharmacists’ salaries).
|Markups on Generic Prescription Drugs (WXYZ-TV)|
Last updated: 1 November 2005
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