Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

What Drugs Really Cost

Posted by Dr. Gray on Thursday, July 24, 2008

Excerpted from the web site located at www.stopFDA.com operated by Life Extension Foundation

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 then $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 chart below speaks for itself.

Since the cost of prescription drugs is so outrageous, I thought everyone I knew 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 Walgreens 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. 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. Patients just tell them at the door that they wish to use the pharmacy, and they are welcomed in.

Remember that an apple cost almost nothing until it is picked and packaged.

Drug Retail /100 Tabs Cost Mark-Up %
Celebrex 100 mg $130. 27 $0.60 21,712%
Claritin 10 mg $215.17 $0.71 30,306%
Keflex 250 mg $157.39 $1.88 8,372%
Lipitor 20 mg $272.37 $5.80 4,696%
Norvasc 10 mg $188.29 $0.14 134,493%
Paxil 20 mg $220.27 $7.60 2,898%
Prevacid 30 mg $44.77 $1.01 34,136%
Prilosec 20 mg $360.97 $0.52 69,417%
Prozac 20 mg $247.47 $0.11 224,973%
Tenormin 50 mg $104.47 $0.13 80,362%
Vasotec 10 mg $102.37 $0.20 51,185%
Xanax 1 mg $136.79 $0.024 569,958%
Zestril 20 mg $89.89 $3.20 2,809%
Zithromax 600 mg $1,482.19 $18.78 7,892%
Zocor 40 mg $350.27 $8.63 4,059%
Zoloft 50 mg $206.87 $1.75 11,821%
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