03 November 2010

But Canada has cheaper prescription drug prices!

We've all heard about the people from the US who come to Canada to buy cheap prescription drugs, right? But have you ever heard of anyone going to the US to buy cheaper prescriptions? No? Now you have.

Crackle is on a medication called Diflucan (generic: fluconazole). It's an anti-fungal that treats candida. It's doing wonders for him. It's not a miracle cure, but it has been a godsend (and he's 4 and autistic and doesn't know he takes medicine or what it's for, so it's not a placebo, so shut up). Anyway, when I bought it on Oct 13 at Shoppers, it cost a whopping $372, including the $11 dispensing fee (and the pharmacist was a douchebag, but that's another story).

I flipped and called my doc. She said that it was way cheaper last time she prescribed it, but that was in the US. So I called a pharmacy across the border in Snoqualmie and was told that the same amount would cost ~$20. WHAT?! So I ordered the refill from them. Sure enough. $3 shipping.

Astute readers will notice that the dosage on the second prescription is doubled. That's because he went up to a higher dose after 10 days. The price of the 200mg tabs here is twice the price of the 100mg tabs. Which means that the second batch of meds would have cost me $733.70 ($361.05 x 2 + 11.60). I suck at math*, but isn't that about 26 times as much? Like as in a markup of 2500%? i.e. a metric buttload?

Can someone explain to me how the pharmaceuticals get away with this shit? Because it's not the pharmacies themselves. I called around and they're all identical except for the dispensing fee. And how is that legal?

*No really. I am absolutely terrible at math. I had to msg someone to check this. :)

Update: I had to blur the name of the pharmacy, because after I originally posted this, they got a call from Health Canada telling them they weren't allowed to send meds to me. They have since decided they can do whatever they like, and send them to me anyway, but I don't want them getting more calls and changing their minds.


Anonymous said...

Simple. Drug companies are run by souless asshats.

Luna said...

Well yeah, there's that. But I'm baffled. Is it random? Certain drugs are WAY more expensive here. Others are WAY more expensive there. What gives?!

Joan said...

these drugs are dangerous when taken without a prescription, says findrxonline is recommended that prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, hydrocodone be taken without strict medical care because there are changes in the nervous system and personality.

Luna said...

Joan: Are you having trouble reading? Because 1) This drug is not a painkiller; 2) My son has a prescription for this med, and is under the care of a doctor.

Ignorance said...

I just checked fluconazole prices over here and they are of the same order as in the US. I can't find any reasons online for the downright idiotic price difference. If the Canadian doesn't have some sort of restriction on the distribution of fluconazole (and why apparantly only fluconazole would also mystify me), my guess would be this is a truly inane piece of price discrimination that can be best painted as sheer thuggery. Is by any chance there only one company selling it in Canada?

Luna said...

Ignorance: I have no idea how it works, if some company has a monopoly or what. But I'm definitely going to be sending some letters to my MLA and MP.