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Pharmacy Price Gauging on Common Medications
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Pharmacy Price Gauging on Common Medications

2902485?1210724551
This is worth reading. Be sure to read to the end. You will be amazed.

Let's hear it for Costco!! (This is just mind-boggling!) Make sure you read all the way past the list of the drugs The woman that signed below is a Budget Analyst out of federal Washington , DC offices.

Did you ever wonder how much it costs a drug company for the active ingredient in prescription medications? Some people think it must cost a lot, since many drugs sell for more than $2.00 per tablet. We did a search of offshore chemical synthesizers that supply the active ingredients found in drugs approved by the FDA. As we have revealed in past issues of Life Extension, a significant percentage of drugs sold in the United States contain active ingredients made in other countries. In our independent investigation of how much profit drug companies really make, we obtained the actual price of active ingredients used in some
of the most popular drugs sold in America.

The data below speaks for itself.

Celebrex: 100 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $130.27
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.60
Percent markup: 21,712%

Claritin: 10 mg
Consumer Price (100 tablets): $215.17
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.71
Percent markup: 30,306%


Keflex: 250 mg
Consumer Price (100 tablets): $157.39
Cost of general active ingredients: $1.88
Percent markup: 8,372%


Lipitor: 20 mg
Consumer Price (100 tablets): $272.37
Cost of general active ingredients: $5.80
Percent markup: 4,696%


Norvasc: 10 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $188.29
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.14
Percent markup: 134,493%
[]

Paxil: 20 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $220.27
Cost of general active ingredients: $7.60
Percent markup: 2,898%


Prevacid: 30 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $44.77
Cost of general active ingredients: $1.01
Percent markup: 34,136%


Prilosec : 20 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $360.97
Cost of general active ingredients $0.52
Percent markup: 69,417%


Prozac: 20 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets) : $247.47
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.11
Percent markup: 224,973%


Tenormin: 50 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $104.47
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.13
Percent markup: 80,362%


Vasotec: 10 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $102.37
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.20
Percent markup: 51,185%


Xanax: 1 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets) : $136.79
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.024
Percent markup: 569,958%


Zestril: 20 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets) $89.89
Cost of general active ingredients $3.20
Percent markup: 2,809


Zithromax: 600 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $1,482.19
Cost of general active ingredients: $18.78
Percent markup: 7,892%


Zocor: 40 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $350.27
Cost of general active ingredients: $8.63
Percent markup: 4,059%

Zoloft: 50 mg
Consumer price: $206.87
Cost of general active ingredients: $1.75
Percent markup: 11,821%


Since the cost of prescription drugs is so outrageous, I thought everyone should know about this. Please read the following and pass it on.

It pays to shop around. This helps to solve the mystery as to why they can afford to put a Walgreen's on every corner. On Monday night, Steve Wilson, an investigative reporter for Channel 7 News in Detroit , did a story on generic drug price gouging by pharmacies. He found in his investigation, that some of these generic drugs were marked up as much as 3,000% or more. Yes, that's not a typo.....three thousand percent! So often, we blame the drug companies for the high cost of drugs, and usually rightfully so. But in this case, the fault clearly lies with the pharmacies themselves. For example, if you had to buy a prescription drug, and bought the name brand, you might pay $100 for 100 pills.

The pharmacist might tell you that if you get the generic equivalent, they would only cost $80, making you think you are 'saving' $20. What the pharmacist is not telling you is that those 100 generic pills may have only cost him $10!

At the end of the report, one of the anchors asked Mr. Wilson whether, or not there were any pharmacies that did not adhere to this practice, and he said that Costco consistently charged little over their cost for the generic drugs.


I went to the Costco site, where you can look up any drug, and get its online price. It says that the in-store prices are consistent with the online prices. I was appalled. Just to give you one example from my own experience, I had to use the drug, Compazine, which helps prevent nausea in chemo patients.


I used the generic equivalent, which cost $54.99 for 60 pills at CVS. I checked the price at Costco, and I could have bought 100 pills for $19.89. For 145 of my pain pills, I paid $72.57. I could have got 150 at Costco for $28.08.

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21 Comments Post a Comment
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187666_tn?1331176945
So I wonder how this works for those of us with an HMO where we have prescription coverage? We pay no more than $15 for any prescription and if it costs them less than that, we only pay a certain percentage. So some meds may cost us $9.70 for example. Do the HMO pharmacies handle their costs the same way as Costco - not out to make a huge profit?
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66068_tn?1365196781
Good question, Ireneo

I use the Medco mail order prescription service through Blue Cross Blue Shield. Here's what I pay and what they say BCBS pays (I just received a 3 month supply or 90 each of 6 meds & I have the invoice right in front of me). I'm actually happy with Medco since I pay a lot less now than I did with another insurer. I could lower my cost further by switching to generics.

...........................................insurance pays..............I pay.....................

Allopurinol tabs. (300 mg)......... $0.00.....................$9.11............

Diltiazem cap (240 mg)...........$36.10.....................$10.00........

Vytorin (10/20 tabs)...............$177.39.....................$35.00...........

Altace caps (5 mg)................$89.11......................$35.00...........

HCTZ tabs (25 mg)...................$0.00......................$ 2.63............

Coumadin tabs (5mg).............$29.17......................$35.00.........

So I wonder if the Insurance really pays that much??  When I used to take rythmol, the invoice said the insurance paid $800+ (I paid $35.00).
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21064_tn?1309312333
Amazing indeed!  I was among those who used to believe that the high costs of prescription drugs were always a direct result of pharmaceutical companies overcharging.  That is, until I started to shop around and ask questions.  Now, I think of it as if I'm making any other purchase and I shop for the overall "best deal."    

Because of competitive pricing I used to purchase my medication from Wal-Mart.  However, the customer service was awful, so I looked for a new pharmacy.  Now, I shop at a home-grown pharmacy.  Here's what's crazy...I had one RX that Wal-Mart used to fill for $4.00/month (a reduced co-pay).  When I asked the new company why I was paying $10 (my usual generic co-pay), she said it was because that was what my deductible was.  BUT, if I wanted to pay for the RX without using my insurance card, it would be $4.00!!!  Unbelievable!  It really does pay to shop and ask, ask, ask.  It's still hard for me to believe that medication is a marketable commodity!!  

Tony,
We just filled several prescriptions for my MIL at Medco.  They were great to work with and very price-competitive.  We can also use Medco mail order, but no savings.  However, I'm thinking it would be nice to have a 90 day supply...especially with the price of gasoline.......

Dr. Kirksey,
Thanks for sharing the article.
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343243_tn?1273350304
this really make me think seriously to open drug compay. i'll share my profit with you gyes!
i get my medication for  free in my country, i wonder how much it cost our government!
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306245_tn?1244388567
Iwe used to have one insurance for all medical coverage and that insurance ended at the end of the year and now we are covered by a different one.
I had to go get a few prescriptions filled for 2 different people in my family. the pharmacy had put our new insurance in the computer but for some strange reason it didn't take it still had our old one. she told us the cost and I wrote the check out and when I lookded at the receipt I noticed it was the old insurace. when they put the correct insurance in I figured I don't need to worry about writiing a different check it would be the same WRONG it was $58.90 cheaper then the first one that was wrung up.
Why is that. does the pharmacies mark these up becuase they know they can get more $$ for it.
that really irked me when I found out.

but this doesn't happen to just medications it is all over the place with everything and it is time to put a STOP to it
Thank you for your advice
Michelle
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Avatar_n_tn
I agree that prices are inflated but your argument is like asking why your car costs $ 40K when the cost of the metal in it is $ 600.00. I am not afiliated with the drug companies. The costs of supporting their infrastructure and marketing elephant is enormous. I think drug companies should be not- for- profit organizations. This would help people tremendously.I hope Michael Moore produces a documentary on the subject some day.
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469720_tn?1388149949
Hi
I'm not making an argument. It's someone else's article. I checked however and verified their data regarding the medication production and retail costs. I think its a very informative an provocative article and another example of the more information we have, the better we are able to navigate the system and be informed consumers.
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469720_tn?1388149949
That is such good info. Thanks. that's the type of info that makes medhelp an incredible resource. I told several of my patients about medco. Its unfortunate that the people who sometimes have these enormous monthly medication bills are older and may not be computer savvy to do their homework and find the best price. They are sometimes restricted to shopping at their local place which may be price gauging them
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21064_tn?1309312333
Dr. Kirksey is a vascular surgeon.  If you google his name, you will find an impressive CV.  For me, his posts clearly demonstrate a desire to practice excellent medicine in a responsible, ethical and compassionate manner.  

While your suspicion of government generated reports is understandable, the elements of this analysis are well founded and verifiable.  

For me, over zealous marketing and price gouging on medication raises further questions on what is ethical all in the name of profit margins.......sad


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367994_tn?1304957193
Quote e.r.:

"I agree that prices are inflated but your argument is like asking why your car costs $ 40K when the cost of the metal in it is $ 600.00. I am not afiliated with the drug companies. The costs of supporting their infrastructure and marketing elephant is enormous. I think drug companies should be not- for- profit organizations. This would help people tremendously.I hope Michael Moore produces a documentary on the subject some day"

There should be a distinction between drug retailers and drug manufacturers.  The quotes listed are referring to pharmacists.  Insurance companies get a price break based on purchased volume and when the drug is available in generic there SHOULD BE a price reduction as well. The pharmacist's costs are are stocking and distribution costs and their high price is not justified

A drug manufacturer has to recoup their research and development costs and in a limited time, so they the manufacturer, have the exclusive right to market the drug at the price the market will bear.  Included in the cost is the expense of failed medication costs, and the cost of law suits.  There is an economic benefit for the manufacturers and that benefit provides an incentive to progress with newer and better medication.

To have any enterprise not-for-profit requires a bureacrracy for oversight, and that is less efficient and the representation that it is non-profit organization is a fallacy as cost may equal revenue (no profit) but the accounting for a non-profit going concern includes the hidden costs of high wages and perks of the personnel.
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Avatar_m_tn
This is offtopic and I regret the interruption but since Dr. Kirksey is involved I would like to ask the following:

Has anyone used or heard about the new combined or hybrid CT/PET scan? I have just seen some pics of heart scans done with this new imaging tech and they look very clear and precise as to the coronary arteries and the associated heart tissue injured by blockages. Its not yet available in the Tampa area of  Florida and would like to know where its being done and the relative costs to the individual CT and PET scans.
Thanks,
ChrisR
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Avatar_m_tn
I don't really see anything "responsible" about posting that kind of ****.  It's a long trip to get from raw material to a finished pill.  What is the cost to the pharmacies?  I'd be willing to bet that they don't get 20 mg Lipitor for $5.80.

As I said before, this is the same stuff we all get in our spam folders each and every day.  I got an idea.  Let's all not buy any gasoline tomorrow.  That'll put those darn oil companies in their place, by golly.

If you do not forward this to 8,000 of your closest friends, you just might have all kinds of bad luck and stuff like that.

LOL
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Avatar_m_tn
$5.80 / 100

We bring a lot of this on ourselves.  We want the government (or somebody) to make everything we do 100% foolproof and totally harmless.  If something turns out to not be totally benign, what do we do??  We sue the manufacturer.  As an example, guns.  Someone gets shot and killed.  The victims family will have their lawyer picked out  before they select the casket.  Will they sue the shooter?  Of course not.  He has nothing to sue for.  They sue the company that manufactured the gun.  That's where the big bucks are, and of course, it WAS their fault that somewhere down the line, some crazed lunatic came into possession of one of their products.  A recent example is the kid that got hurt playing little league ball.  Who do we sue?  Little League baseball?  The other kid?  The other kids parents?  Of course not--we sue the company that manufactured the BAT.  There's the big bucks.  I amnot minimizing the injury--it was a terrible accident.  In cases like these, juries of "we the sheeple" award millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars to the poor victims.  It's the new American way to get rich--sue somebody.  

The point is that pharmaceutical companies have a LOT more than raw material prices to worry about when it comes to pricing their products.  How much do the machines cost that stamp out the pills?  How about a few thousand of these same machines?  Life ain't cheap, and in many cases we're the ones that made it that way.

Oops.  And I almost forgot about the little weasel-looking guy that stuffs all that cotton in the pill bottles.  Bet he don't work cheap either.

So, maybe we should have an expose' on how much Wal-Mart or Cosco pay for said drugs......................Sounds like a good project for Dr. Kirksey.

And, how about them gas prices ??

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21064_tn?1309312333
You’re right.  As a group, we are eager to sue and it's no secret that lawyers seek out the "deep pockets".  I agree, it would be remiss to think that retailers are paying $5.80 for a 20mg tablet of lipitor.  However, as a capitalistic society, the bottom line is all about making money. Unfortunately, we have become increasingly reliant on products we once took for granted (gasoline, medication) and now we are facing a frightening problem.  The information in the article is factual, but as you pointed out, it only represents part of the bigger picture.  It is merely part of a collective argument and something to think about.

We live in a time where medication is mainstay.  We rely on it for maintenance, treatment, cure, pain relief, and in some cases, outward beauty.  We want to live longer, live stronger, live healthier, look better, feel better, etc.  Talk about deep pockets!  As a group, we represent the largest “deep pocket” of them all.  Fortunately, there are still things that most of us can do to try and help ourselves (diet, exercise, no smoking, limit alcohol, etc).  Other than that, it’s in our best interest to be open-minded, read, and ask questions.

As I stated in an earlier post, I purchased medication (ACE I) at WalMart for $4.00 (my co-pay for generic is $10.00).  I was told if I did NOT use my insurance card, I could pay $4.00 versus $10.00.  I don’t have the answers and don’t know who does, but the problem affects all of us, and isn’t going away.  
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Avatar_m_tn
You win.  There's just no arguing with logic like that.

I surrender.
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367994_tn?1304957193
The biggest offender of price gouging are hospitals.  What's the justification for paying $5.00 for one aspirin pill and other outrage prices for medication while in a hospital stay?!  There isn't any. Usually that expense is covered by insurance, but the insurance policy holder is indirectly paying with higher premium costs and that cost goes unnoticed and without public outrage.

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21064_tn?1309312333
Hahahaha!!  You let me off too easy.  The topic does make for great dialogue and keeps us wondering....

Have a great evening!
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