According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 75 million people, 1 of 3 U.S. adults, have high blood pressure and only 54% of these people have their high blood pressure under control. It is not surprising that lisinopril, the generic version of Prinivil that treats high blood pressure and heart failure, was the third most prescribed drug in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2016 according to LowestMed.com. What some people may find more surprising is that Americans pay one-third as much for the same medication as our Canadian neighbors.
We called a brick-and-mortar Walmart pharmacy in Toronto and asked how much a 30-day prescription of 20 mg lisinopril would cost. The price was $16.78 CAD. After conversion and including the foreign transaction fee, the price would be $12.64 USD. The same 30-day prescription filled at a Walmart pharmacy in the U.S. only costs $4, and a 90-day prescription only costs $10. Americans pay less for a 90-day prescription than Canadians pay for a 30-day prescription.
Are generic drugs a big part of medications dispensed in America?
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 85% of all prescriptions filled in the U.S. are for generic drugs. Generics have the same effectiveness, strength, purity, safety, and active ingredients as brand-name drugs. The only differences in a generic are the inactive ingredients, appearance, and price. Generics can cost 85% less than the brand-name drugs they are virtually identical to. Of the 50 drugs on LowestMeds.com’s list of most prescribed medications in the first quarter of 2016, 47 of them, 94%, were for generics.
How can I use this tip to save money for my family?
Familiarize yourself with generic drug discount programs near you
According to Consumer Reports, about 40% of the people they surveyed said they had cut corners with their prescription drugs to make ends meet – splitting pills, skipping doses or not filling their prescriptions at all. If someone is concerned about the price of their medication, they should first speak with their doctor to see if a lower-cost alternative in the same class of drugs in available.
Lisinopril is not the only generic medication available at Walmart at such an affordable price, and Walmart is also not the only retailer with a generic drug discount program. NeedyMeds.org has a list of all of the discount drug programs operated by retailers across the country. On average there are 12 generic drug discount programs available in each state. Most of the programs have no membership fees associated with them and are in line with Walmart’s $4 for a 30-day/$10 for a 90-day supply, but there is a wide variety to the generics covered by each program. Some programs covered over 500 different generic drugs. Some programs only covered diabetes supplies or antibiotics.
You can use NeedyMeds.org to browse generic drug discount programs by state and by the drugs you need. Filling all of your prescriptions under the supervision of one pharmacist will help prevent any possible negative interactions from happening before they occur.