When it comes to getting your prescription medication for an affordable price, nothing compares to comparing prices. We talk about online, international options for prescription drug savings a lot. Americans use our site, PharmacyChecker.com, to find much lower prices available abroad for their prescribed medications. They also use us to find discount coupons for their local pharmacy.
After a disappointing visit to Walgreens, Garrick Feldman, editor in chief of the Arkansas Leader, did it the old-fashioned way by calling around his town. In doing so, he discovered how people are price-gouged by not only Big Pharma—but by their local pharmacies. His story is awesome. (more…)
Let’s give a big round of applause to CVS, the second largest chain pharmacy (behind Walgreens), for its decision to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products! To its credit, CVS is not being overly self-righteous, as it largely attributes the policy change as necessary to accommodate legal restrictions on tobacco sales in places where healthcare services are provided: this is in view of its plans to open up more healthcare clinics in its pharmacies throughout the country. So, come October, as per the company’s plans press release, Americans will no longer be able to buy cigarettes or other tobacco products at any of the 7,000-plus CVS stores nationwide.
Unfortunately, removing tobacco products from CVS’ shelves won’t help Americans afford their medicine. According to a survey by Consumer Reports, CVS has the highest drug prices (Costco had the lowest prices, especially on generics). While executives at U.S. pharmacy corporations have steadfastly opposed reforming drug importation laws to bring down drug costs, CVS’ former Chairman and CEO, Thomas Ryan, bravely supported it. To quote Mr. Ryan:
While many in our industry believe that importation is a fundamentally flawed concept and oppose it without exception, I have come to a slightly different view…Millions of Americans already have opted to import drugs because they can’t afford not to. We owe it to them to face this issue head on and not look the other way.
That statement was provided by Mr. Ryan in 2004. Since that time, access to affordable medication in the U.S. has only become more difficult due to higher drug prices, and Americans continue to personally import their medication, often from international online pharmacies.
The reason that those online pharmacies are a lifeline is provided by none other than…CVS! CVS/Caremark surveyed their pharmacists about a year ago; 61% cited high drug costs as the number one reason Americans don’t take their meds. Canadian and other foreign pharmacies have much lower prices and so Americans need them.
To be intellectually honest, Mr. Ryan’s idea was not for Americans to buy directly from Canadian or other foreign pharmacies but for CVS to import less expensive medication from verified foreign wholesale pharmacies and then sell it to Americans. Not a bad idea to help bring down drug costs, while keeping American pharmacists employed and corporate profits humming. Thus, understandably, Mr. Ryan’s position was dedicated to the public health and his business interests.
The heart and soul of Mr. Ryan’s position, however, is the public health alone – and not business interests. Once again, he said: “Millions of Americans already have opted to import drugs because they can’t afford not to. We owe it to them to face this issue head on and not look the other way.” They opt to import because brand name drugs are often 90% less expensive internationally. That’s why it’s best to help Americans safely buy medications where they can best afford it instead of looking the other way.
So you can put out that cigarette, get your flu shots from CVS, your generics from Costco and your brand name drugs overseas!
A new and portable strategy for saving money on prescription drugs has just hit the market with the LowestMed app from LowestMed.com. Our research finds that the most substantial savings consumers can expect are for generic medications, but far less so when it comes to expensive brand named drugs.
To help American consumers “Find the lowest price… fast” at a local chain pharmacy, LowestMed has created a free smartphone application that uses the current location of your phone to find the nearest pharmacy with the lowest price on a prescription drug that you need. According to the Washington Post, “LowestMed also comes with a free discount card, which can further reduce the price of a medication by between 10 and 85 percent.”
Testing out this new savings strategy, we find that a 30-day supply of Lisinopril 10mg can cost anywhere from $10.00 (Target) to $36.63 (CVS) – the app not only helps you find the $26.63 savings – 73% but also to map the location for you.
While savings like those on Lisinopril are great, many consumers may need to turn to verified international pharmacies when shopping for big brand names. Thirty tablets of Plavix 75mg, for example, cost $197.64 at the cheapest bricks and mortar pharmacy on LowestMeds.com, $205.10 at the most expensive. Saving $7.46 per month is nice, but saving $153.10 is not only much better but necessary for some Americans who could simply cannot afford the U.S. price! Plavix costs just $52 for a month supply at the lowest priced international pharmacy in the PharmacyChecker.com Verification program – a savings of 74%!