A weekly series identifying prescription drugs manufactured in America and their prices.
Singulair 4 mg oral granules (montelukast) are used to treat asthma in pediatric patients. Brand-name Singulair is manufactured in the U.S. by Merck, but it is available for much lower prices in other countries. Brand-name Singulair from a verified international online pharmacy is even cheaper than the generic here! At a New York City pharmacy, 90 units of Singulair costs $731.99 and the generic is $458.99. From a PharmacyChecker.com approved international pharmacy, it costs only $176. That’s a 76% savings.
Today we issued a press release showing that the most popular brand name asthma medications are on average 76% less when purchasing from the lowest-cost PharmacyChecker.com-verified online pharmacies than at U.S. bricks and mortar pharmacies. For example, a three month supply of Advair Diskus (250-50mcg/dose), a popular preventative medication, costs $947.97 at a bricks-and-mortar pharmacy in New York City. The same medicine, by the same manufacturer, costs $149.00, at a verified international online pharmacy – a savings of 84%. With such high prices domestically it’s no surprise Americans with asthma often find themselves going without needed treatments and ending up in emergency rooms.
A 2005 study sponsored by Kaiser Family Foundation, Harvard School of Public Health, and USA Today found that 44% of American households with an asthma sufferer are unable to follow prescribed treatments due to cost. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.7 million Americans went to emergency rooms in 2009 due to their asthma conditions. The CDC attributed such hospitalizations to low adherence to asthma management strategies, which include taking preventative asthma medication. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association last month reported that out-of-pocket costs for medicine were a factor in greater hospitalization rates among children with asthma in the U.S
The health benefits of products such as Advair Diskus, Flovent, and Singulair – preventative asthma medications –are sometimes difficult for patients to ascertain when they are not showing asthma symptoms. Unfortunately, because prices for these products are so high in the United States, Americans view skipping these medications as a way to save money and others simply can’t afford them. If more Americans could find these products at more reasonable prices, such as from verified international online pharmacies, then adherence would improve, leading to less ER visits, better overall health outcomes, and lower healthcare costs for all of us. And with more affordable asthma medication, trips to the grocery store will be less daunting.
For more on asthma medication prices, see the press release.
Although the U.S. technically bans the personal importation of affordable and safe drugs that help people stay or get healthy (for example Merck’s asthma medication Singulair, sold in other countries for a fraction of the price found in U.S. pharmacies, is not technically FDA-approved due to different packaging), we waive our drug importation laws when it comes to European Union-produced sodium thiopental – a non-FDA-approved version, for lethal injections.
Sodium thiopental is a required sedative in U.S. executions, and earlier this year the only U.S. manufacturer ceased producing it. For this reason, we now rely on EU imports – a practice that is getting more and more difficult, as export controls have been strengthened on their end because our EU allies oppose the death penalty.
We find it sad and ironic that our government facilitates the importation of a drug used for executions, regardless of one’s position on the death penalty, but refuses to loosen restrictions on personal importation for drugs that help Americans live.