US consumers can make savings averaging 76% on domestically-produced brand-name medications when they buy them from verified international on-line pharmacies rather than local US pharmacies, says a new analysis.
The savings, found from a basket of 15 widely-used branded medications, ranged from 86% for Eli Lilly’s antidepressant Cymbalta (duloxetine) to 61% for Mission Pharmacal’s kidney stone disease treatment Urocit-K (potassium citrate), says the analysis,by online pharmacy information specialist PharmacyChecker.com.
Moreover, while three of the drugs - Merck & Co’s asthma/allergic rhinitis treatment Singulair (montelukast), AstraZeneca’s asthma drug Pulmicort (budesonide) and Urocit-K - are available as generics in the US, their brand-name prices overseas are still lower than their US generic prices.
PharmacyChecker.com points to findings by the Commonwealth Fund think tank that, in 2012, 50 million US citizens did not fill prescriptions because of cost, including 21% of insured Americans.
“It is a ridiculous situation, but the only way many Americans can get affordable prices on brand-name American drugs is to buy them outside the country,” said PharmacyChecker.com president Tod Cooperman.
The data was collected over 15 weeks. PharmacyChecker looked only at brand-name medications manufactured in the US “not because they’re any safer than those made elsewhere, but because we found it so compelling that the same drugs made here are about 75% less expensive abroad,” added vice president Gabriel Levitt.
The 15 products studied, and the average savings made through purchasing them from an international online pharmacy, are: - Allergan’s Acuvail (ketorolac tromethamine ophthalmic solution) 0.45%, 30 vials - 74%; - Pfizer’s alpha-blocker Cardura XL (doxazosin) 4mg, 90 pills - 76%; - AstraZeneca’s lipid-lowerer Crestor (rosuvastatin) 40mg, 90 pills - 79%; - Eli Lilly’s antidepressant Cymbalta (duloxetine) 60mg, 90 pills - 87%; - Johnson & Johnson’s schizophrenia treatment Invega (paliperidone) 6mg, 90 pills - 70%; - Merck & Co’s diabetes drug Janumet (sitagliptin plus metformin) 50/500mg, 180 pills - 84%; - Bausch & Lomb’s steroid eye drops Lotemax (loteprednol) 0.5%, 5ml - 84%; - Allergan’s glaucoma treatment Lumigan (bimatoprost) 0.03%, 2.5ml - 81%; - Alcon’s Pataday (olapatadine) ophthalmic solution 02%, 2.5ml - 79%; - AstraZeneca’s asthma drug Pulmicort (budesonide) 0.25mg/2ml, 60 respules - 83%; - Allergan’s Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion) 0.05%, 60 vials - 71%; - Merck & Co’s asthma/allergic rhinitis treatment Singulair (montelukast) granules 4mg, 90 pills - 76%; - Eli Lilly’s Strattera (atomoxetine) for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) 100mg, 30 pills - 63%; - Roche’s cancer drug Tarceva (erlotinib) 100mg, 30 pills – 70%; and - Misson Pharmacal’s kidney stone disease treatment Urocit-K (potassium citrate) 10meq, 90 pills – 61%.