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 Post subject: The Cost of Medicines
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:59 am 
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The Cost of Medicines
Sharon L. Davis, Mary Palmer, Bob Ellis, PMP

Did you ever wonder how much it costs a drug company for the active ingredients 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. 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 chart 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: 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%

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 $54.00 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.

I would like to mention, that although Costco is a "membership" type store, you do NOT have to be a member to buy prescriptions there, as it is a federally regulated substance. You just tell them at the door that you wish to use the pharmacy, and they will let you in. (this is true, I went there this past Thursday and asked them.)

I am asking each of you to please help me by copying this letter, and pasting it into your own email, and send it to everyone you know with an email address.

Sharon L. Davis
Budget Analyst
US Department of Commerce
Room 6839
Office Ph: 202-482-4458
Office Fax: 202-482-5480
Email Address: sdavis@doc.gov

Mary Palmer
Budget Analyst
Bureau of Economic Analysis
Office of Budget & Finance

Bob Ellis, PMP
Burnaby, BC V5H 4G3
Canada
604-437-4065


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:45 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:20 pm
Posts: 110
Location: USA
Yeah but don't forget that marketing and advertisement of products containing even cheap ingredients is tremendously expensive.

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The effort it takes to think up names for these things must by itself be enough to force people into having to retire early, like sports figures or exotic dancers or adult film stars or prostitutes. Except these are people who had to pay lots of money for books just for one semester! And plus they had to do homework on Sundays, sometimes! No, they improved themselves a really really lot, and are proud of their training compared to just people who decided they wanted to wash dishes in truck stops when they grew up. Plus, I happen to know that drug companies do many good things with all that money. Like right when Doggie Prozac was coming out they gave veterinarians absolutely unbelievable amounts to go around telling people about how having pets is good for your blood pressure and stuff like that. Really. It was like "Talk a few minutes, get a new car". Over and over.


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