Americans have been talking about saving money on medicine by importing drugs from Canada for years and circulating price comparison tables to prove their point. In the past few days, this graphic has been making the rounds; The Partnership for Safe Medicines staff wondered whether these prices were accurate, and so we checked them by looking them up using GoodRx.com. We were surprised to find out that most of the medications are more affordable in the U.S.
For example, according to the graphic, Celebrex, a popular drug to treat arthritis, would cost $257 in Canada, while in America, it would cost $1,121. In reality, neither the brand name medication nor the equally effective generic drug cost anywhere close to that. A 30-day supply of 200 mg tablets of brand-name Celebrex is $345.60 at HealthWarehouse, as of March 1, 2017. The lowest price for a 30-day supply of generic Celebrex only costs $32.45 at Safeway.
And Celebrex was not the only one that we found that was considerably cheaper in the US than the graphic showed, and surprisingly more affordable than the Canadian price on the graphic.
- A 30-day supply of 100 mcg brand-name Synthroid tablets costs $37.99 at your local Walgreens, but if you’re looking to really save money, get the 30-day supply of the generic for only $4.00 at Walmart. That’s $105 cheaper than the American price on the social media chart, and $31 cheaper than the Canadian one.
- 30 days of 10 mg tablets of brand-name Crestor, for high cholesterol, ($779 on the chart) costs $275.25 at Kroger. The generic costs $15.90 at HealthWarehouse.
- Advair Diskus, which treats asthma and COPD, doesn’t have an FDA-approved generic, but one 100mcg/50mcg diskus costs $305.43 at Kroger Pharmacy, almost $50 less than the price listed in Canada.
We are not deaf to the discussion of costs in the healthcare system, but if we’re going to actually discuss cost, we must first start with facts. And the important fact here is that these popular medications cost about the same or less in the US as they do in Canada.