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
Americans and others living in America used to see advertisements on Google for low-cost and safe international online pharmacies but now they don’t. That’s because, back in 2010, Google banned all non-U.S. online pharmacies, safe or otherwise, from its advertising platform that targets the United States and its people, a demographic urgently in need of lower drug prices! Why would they do that? Who does that benefit? Who does it hurt?
A few years back, the FDA published the results of a survey from 2012 that showed 23% of Internet users purchase medication online. That number has been used by a variety of groups funded by pharmaceutical companies and U.S. pharmacy corporations, and apparently the Government Accountability Office, to imply that a quarter of the U.S. population is buying medication from dangerous rogue online pharmacy sites. The number is probably lower than 2%, which is still too high but it’s important that the public and our elected leaders face and tackle the online pharmacy problems that really exist, not fake ones that distort public perception and serve entrenched business interests…and lead to fewer Americans getting medicines they need.
New data from Consumer Reports shows that 67% more adults without prescription benefits under the age of 65 skipped filling a prescription due to high drug prices this year compared to last year. In 2012, 45% of respondents reported they did not fill a prescription due to cost, up from 27% in 2011.
Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs Tracking Poll, July 2012,
Consumer Reports National Research Center. Click to enlarge.
These results should not be surprising. Many Americans aged 50-65 who lost their jobs during the recession also lost their health insurance. This age group has also had the most difficulty finding work after losing their jobs during the recession. These Americans are not yet eligible for Medicare Part D, which helps reduce prescription drug costs.
Alarmingly, the majority of respondents (both insured and uninsured) to the Consumer Reports survey said that they reduced other household expenses in order to pay for medications. Eighty-four percent of uninsured Americans reported a change in behavior in order to pay for medication. The number of insured Americans reporting a change is also high, at 59%. Budgets for groceries decreased, payment of bills postponed, and credit card payments increased: all because of the high cost of medication.
If you are struggling to pay for medication, keep the following in mind when about to purchase medication. Look for generic alternatives to brand name medications in the United States. Look for drug discount cards or coupons if you are purchasing medicine at a local pharmacy. If there’s no generic alternative, you can look for international online pharmacies and often find savings of 90%. Just make sure they are verified and safe, such as those listed on PharmacyChecker.com.
Americans are speaking out against the provisions of a new law signed by President Obama on July 9th that will hinder their access to safe and affordable medication. In a news story last week on a Minneapolis-St. Paul NBC affiliate, Kare 11, we learn about Minnesotans who could be negatively affected by Section 708 of Food and Drug Administration Innovation and Safety Act, which allows for the seizure and destruction of personally imported medication.
Rico Anderson imports his prescription medicine for Crohn’s disease from Canada, paying $135 for a one month supply. In the U.S., this medicine would cost over $700 a month. That’s almost $7,000 dollars in annual savings. In contemplating having to face higher U.S. prices, Mr. Rico lamented that: “if it gets to a point where you’re deciding if you have to buy your medicine or pay your mortgage or put food on your table what are you going to do?”
The NBC report features Lee Graczyk, lead organizer of RxRights, a prescription affordability advocacy group. Days before the law passed Mr. Graczyk emphasized both the economic and health costs that result from unaffordable medication: “People are using this option because they cannot afford to buy the medications here. If this law passes, they can’t afford to buy the medications and stop taking the medications, they not only put their health at risk, but as a nation, it’s going to cost us more money.”
Visit RxRights.org to learn how Americans can fight back and protect their access to safe personal prescription drug importation from verified online pharmacies.
To compare prices on prescription medication from Canada and other foreign countries visit PharmacyChecker.com.