As competition increases between brand companies so do the prices of their products. Brand name drug prices have been on the rise for a few years now but recently, there was a huge jump in prices. Finding cheap prescription drugs is getting tougher each year. Drug prices have gone up approximately 6.6% each year between 2006 and 2010.
Benicar, of Daiichi Sankyo, was one of the cheapest blood pressure drugs in its class at the beginning of 2010, but ended the year with a price hike of 29.3%. Benicar 20 mg went up to $88.80 which is the biggest jump in price of all the top selling drugs. Last year, Benicar accounted for $8.4 billion in US sales. Greg Barrett, the vice president of Sankyo’s marketing, says that the rise in prices is solely due to competitive purposes. Competitors of Benicar include Diovan, Cozaar, and more angiotensin receptor blockers.
The average cost of prescription drugs has gone up nearly 7 percent. Popular drugs such as Gleevac went up 20.9%, Lipitor went up 12.4%, and Plavix hiked up 13.2%. These drugs are now competing with generic drugs which are much cheaper. Generic drugs are almost exactly the same as the brand. The generic version of a drug has the same active ingredient, effects, dosage, risks, side effects, and strength as the brand; the only difference is price and look. Atorvastatin is the generic of Lipitor and will be sold for less when the patent for Lipitor expires. A Lipitor 10mg with 30 tablets prescription could cost around $40 when the generic Atorvastatin 10 mgoffers 100 tablets for approximately the same price.
Another way patients can save money is to buy prescription drugs online. Drugs from Canada are 35-55% cheaper than from local US pharmacies. With drug prices rising and private health plans becoming more expensive, many Americans will be forced to find other alternatives. Generic medications and online pharmacies will be great options for more affordable medications.