New Evidence: Drug Prices Are Lower In U.S.


FDA Report, NCPA Study Show Smart Shopping Saves More Than Importing From Canada

DALLAS (October 7, 2004) – A federal task force report issued this week confirms research by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) proving that patients can save more on prescription drugs by becoming smarter shoppers rather than importing them from Canada. (http://www.ncpa.org/pub/st262/)

“Patients can save a lot of money if they shop for drugs the way they shop for bread,” said Devon Herrick, author of the original NCPA study. “Looking to Canada is unnecessary. Savvy shoppers can often find greater savings here at home.”

The federal task force, chartered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and led by the Surgeon General, concluded that U.S. consumers can save 50 percent or more solely based on the price of generic substitutes.

In his analysis, Dr. Herrick shows that consumers can save even more by using techniques that are common in any market other than health care, such as selecting a proper Medicare discount card, comparison shopping among U.S. pharmacies, buying in large quantities and pill-splitting, or by purchasing lower-cost substitute drugs.

“Even greater savings might be possible depending upon dosage and the availability of therapeutic substitutes,” Dr. Herrick said. The NCPA will release an updated version of the study next week. (http://www.ncpa.org/pub/st270/)

The study also finds much of the savings generated by importing drugs from Canada is lost when shipping costs of $14 to $15 per order on average are added.

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Editor’s note: A pre-release copy of the updated study is available upon request. Please contact Richard W. Walker at richard.walker@ncpa.org or call (800) 859-1154.

Drug* Surveyed by FDA (Dosage)

Medical Use

DCanada RX Price (Quoted by FDA)

FDA Task Force Price

Additional Savings (Shopping for Drugs – NCPA)

Amiodarone – 200 mg

Rapid heart beat $134.90 $41.89 $37.71

Verapamil SR – 240 mg

High blood pressure $83.90 $43.97 $40.00

Lisinopril - 20 mg

High blood pressure $83.59 $16.19 $15.95

Terazosin – 2 mg

High blood pressure, prostate $43.98 $17.09 $17.09

Hydrochlorothiazide – 25 mg.

High blood pressure $12.73 $6.29 $5.68

Digitek – 0.25 mg

Heart medication $51.30 $29.47 $10.32

*All prices quoted are for 100 doses.