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Life Extension Magazine: Prescription Drug Costs

from Jana Mitcham
December 5, 2003

Vitacorp affiliate Kathy Teal forwarded this enlightening article about drug costs. I thought that in light of all the publicity prescription drugs get, you might be interested. Be sure and read the entire article, especially the Channel 7 News/Detroit report on generic drugs. - Jana

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 chart below speaks for itself.

Brand NameConsumer PriceCost of GeneralPercent Markup of Drug (100 tabs)
Celebrex 100 mg$130.27$0.6021,712%
Claritin 10 mg$215.17$0.7130,306%
Keflex 250 mg$157.39$1.888,372%
Lipitor 20 mg$272.37$5.804,696%
Norvasc 10 mg$188.29$0.14134,493%
Paxil 20 mg$220.27$7.602,898%
Prevacid 30 mg$44.77$1.0134,136%
Prilosec 20 mg$360.97$0.5269,417%
Prozac 20 mg$247.47$0.11224,973%
Tenormin 50 mg$104.47$0.1380,362%
Vasotec 10 mg$102.37$0.2051,185%
Xanax 1mg$136.79$0.024569,958%
Zestril 20 mg$89.89$3.202,809%
Zithromax 600mg$1,482.19$18.787,892%
Zocor 40mg$350.27$8.634,059%
Zoloft 50mg$206.87$1.7511,821%

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!


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