PharmacyChecker Blog

Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
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Money Talks News Is Talking Truth About Affording Medication Online

Too many Americans are being kept in the dark by the very governing authorities and companies that are meant to protect their health. The FDA goes too far in telling Americans not to buy lower cost medication from outside the country, and Big Pharma spends big money on media relations to generate stories about rogue online pharmacies that wrongly conflate them with safe international online pharmacies.

It’s nice when some light gets in. Money Talks News published a straightforward story and video that tells the truth about saving money on prescription drugs online. It asks the question: Are Overseas Pharmacies Unsafe and Illegal?

It takes time, but the truth often prevails because, after all, it’s the truth.

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Blink Health — An Additional Tool in Finding the Lowest Drug Prices

The article “Taming Drug Prices by Pulling Back the Curtain Online” in the New York Times (February 10, 2016) features a new website, Blink Health, which shows reduced drug prices available through local U.S. pharmacies. Its limitation is that savings are mostly on generic drugs, which, for the most part, are already fairly inexpensive. Describing Blink and a similar site, GoodRx, the article notes that, “The sites cannot help much with brand-name drugs, which are made by a single manufacturer and carry prices that can be as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

The article fails to mention that the largest pharmacy savings on the Internet are from international online pharmacies which can offer you the lowest prices worldwide. These prices can be found on PharmacyChecker.com, which “pulls back the curtain” even further than Blink Health and GoodRx by exposing the huge gap (often more than 80%) between drug prices in the U.S. and those in other countries — such as Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Turkey, and the UK. You can also find discounted local U.S. pharmacy prices on PharmacyChecker.com.

The table below shows the lowest prices on popular brand name drugs found on PharmacyChecker.com, BlinkHealth.com, and GoodRx.com in comparison to regular U.S. pharmacy pricing.

Lowest Prices and Greatest Savings on Brand Name Drugs Using PharmacyChecker, Blink Health, and GoodRx

Drug Name
(Strength and Quantity*)
PharmacyChecker
(PC)
Blink Health
(BH)
GoodRx
(GR)
Regular Price
at Local Pharmacy
Greatest Savings
Off Regular Price (Source)
Advair Diskus
(250-50; 180 doses )
$100.99Not Available$946.72$1,179.00 91% (PC)
Crestor
(10 mg; 90 pills)
$44.99$779.64$718.12$870.0095% (PC)
Eliquis
(5 mg; 180 pills)
$391.99$1,046.28 $961.67$1,141.00 66% (PC)
Januvia
(100 mg; 90 pills)
$101.15$1,139.64 $1,046.94 $1,290.00 92% (PC)
Xarelto
(20 mg; 90 pills)
$347.59$1,045.31 $960.81$1,141.00 70% (PC)

Prices as of February 10, 2016

* Quantity represents a standard 3 month supply.

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Big Pharma, Big Drug Dealers

Oxycontin tablets crushed into powder for snorting

Oxycontin tablets crushed into powder for snorting
Image by 51fifty, Wikimedia

The prescription narcotic epidemic in America is banging on our national consciousness, almost as loudly as the issue of skyrocketing drug prices. The pharmaceutical industry and its front groups have tried in the past to conflate safe international online pharmacies with the illegal and dangerous online sale of controlled drugs, including prescription narcotics, and I’ve called them out over the years. Safe international online pharmacies do not sell prescription narcotics at all. But, unlike safe international online pharmacies, which sell non controlled medications at much lower prices, is Big Pharma pushing narcotics and fueling drug addiction in America? Apparently, yes.

As reported in The Fix, a documentary film called “Prescription Thugs” explores the connection between the pharmaceutical industry, the power it wields in Congress, and the painkiller addiction epidemic. It is the story of people who were introduced to painkillers when their doctors prescribed them, only to find themselves addicted. For years, the industry was making a certain formulation of the popular prescription opiate OxyContin that was easily abused by addicts and therefore driving astronomical sales. When a new form of the drug made it harder to crush and therefore inject intravenously, its sales tanked by 80%. You can view the film’s trailer at http://www.prescriptionthugs.com/.

(more…)

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Does Criticizing Big Pharma Actually Help Bring Down Drug Prices? Is Real Change Possible?

Pills with Twenty Dollar Bills

Photo by Chris Potter

Unfortunately, public scrutiny about high drug prices doesn’t usually lead to legislative fixes, such as passing legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry and expand the practice of safe personal drug importation so more consumers access lower prices from foreign pharmacies. On the other hand, a New York Times article – “Even Talking About Reducing Drug Prices Can Reduce Drug Prices” – suggests, well, that “talking about” drug prices can reduce them, because pharma executives get scared that if they don’t moderate drug prices, more permanent and progressive fixes will finally happen.

(more…)

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Pirfenidone: Why Is It $94,000 in the U.S., But $2,000 Elsewhere?

In the article “I.P.F., Not Aging, Could Be Causing Breathlessness” in the New York Times this week, columnist Jane Brody explains that the drug Esbriet (pirfenidone) can “slow the loss of lung function and significantly reduce deaths” from an incurable lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or I.P.F.

The article notes that Esbriet was approved in the U.S. in 2014 and now 14,000 people have begun treatment, which costs $94,000 per year. The article also notes that the drug has been available for several years in other parts of the world (including Japan, India, Europe and Canada).

What the article does not mention is that this incredible drug can be purchased at just a fraction of the cost through many online pharmacies which dispense it from licensed pharmacies outside the U.S – where the cost is only about $2,000 per year, rather than $94,000 per year.

The standard dose of Esbriet is 801 mg per day – 3 capsules, each containing 267 mg of pirfenidone, according to the NIH website DailyMed. Outside the U.S., pirfenidone is sold as 200 mg capsules (so 4 capsules would provide a similar dose – 800 mg). In the U.S., the price of each 267 mg capsule (without any discount) comes out to about $85, while a 200 mg capsule from outside the U.S. costs about $1.50 (prices listed at http://www.pharmacychecker.com/generic/price-comparison/pirfenidone/200+mg/)

Why must Americans (and our government programs) pay 40 to 50 times more than to get this drug in the U.S. than from elsewhere?

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Buying Valium Online To Save Money? Try the Generic at Your Local U.S. Pharmacy Instead

I like showing Americans who are searching online for affordable medication, often from foreign pharmacies, that their mom and pop pharmacy on Main Street U.S.A. can actually offer a better deal. It’s actually pretty common. The generic version of Valium, diazepam, which treats anxiety, is a perfect example. Bottom line: no need to buy online or from Canada to save money.

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