Shopping for Drugs: 2007

Studies | Health

No. 293
Thursday, November 16, 2006
by Devon Herrick, Ph.D.


Case Studies: Price Comparisons for Specific Drugs

Table IV - How to Save 96 Percent on a Cardiovascular Drug

Consumers can use one of the methods previously discussed or combine them all.  Total savings can be significant, as the following case studies show.  [For an additional example, see Appendix D for potential savings on anti-anxiety drugs.]

"Smart Shopping: Buy the lowest price generic equivalent of the antiplaque (betablocker) drug Tenormin."

Case Study: Cardiovascular Drugs. Patients prescribed 50mg of Tenormin daily can save money by comparison shopping for the best price and quantity. [See Table IV.] For instance:

  • An NCPA survey found the price of 100 (50mg) doses of Tenormin ranged from $139.74 at Drugstore.com to $125.49 Costco.com.
  • But patients could save nearly 90 percent over the lowest cost brand-name drug by switching to the generic alternative Atenolol.
  • One hundred doses of the generic drug ranged $26.63 at HomeMed.com $8.29 at Costco.com.
  • Finally, consumers could save another 32 percent (from $8.29 to $5.65) by buying larger, 100mg pills and splitting them in half.161

"Smart Shopping: Buy the least expensive alternative therapy for common heartburn."

Smart buying of this drug lowered the potential overall cost by 96 percent - from a high of $155.66 to a low of $5.65.

Case Study: Heartburn Drugs.  By smart shopping, a consumer prescribed the heartburn drug Nexium can save as much as 87 percent.  [See Table V.]  For example:

If purchased in small quantities (30 capsules at a time) from Drugstore.com, Nexium (20mg) costs about $493.33 per 100 doses; however, a shopper opting for Costco.com would pay $434.67 for 100 capsules, a 12 percent savings.

Table V - How to Save 87 Percent on a Heartburn Drug

Buying the generic equivalent of a therapeutic substitute, such as 20mg Omeprazole, would only cost $69.97. 

Furthermore, because Prilosec, a branded form of the generic drug Omeprazole, is now available over the counter, a savvy consumer opting to pay $61.88 for a 100-day supply from Drugstsore.com would save 87 percent off the most expensive option.


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