The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 75 million U.S. adults or 29% of the population suffer from high blood pressure. According to the CDC, factors beyond your control like age, sex, race, and ethnicity can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, but eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and being physically active can help to lower your risk. If those steps are not enough, your doctor may prescribe a class of drug called a calcium channel blocker to help lower your blood pressure. According to LowestMed.com, amlodipine, the generic version of Norvasc which is used to treat high blood pressure, was the sixth most frequently prescribed drug during the first quarter in the U.S. in 2016.
We wanted to make a price comparison to see how much a 30-day supply of the generic version of Norvasc would cost in the U.S. versus Canada if a person had no insurance. The best price that we could find on GoodRX.com for a 30-day supply of 5-milligram amlodipine costs $5.50 with a free coupon at any Kroger Pharmacy. When we called and spoke with someone at a pharmacy in Toronto, the price quoted was $30 CAD. After converting to USD and including the foreign transaction fee, the price would be $24.62. The same prescription costs over 75% less in the U.S. than it does in Canada.
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?
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 you are concerned about the price of their medication, the first person you should speak to is your doctor to see if a lower-cost alternative in the same class of drugs is available. The fastest way to dramatically lower your prescription costs is to always get the generic version if one is available.
While Kroger operates over 2,100 pharmacies across the country, they are not in every state. The second and third best prices were both under $8.50, and those two, Costco and CVS/Target, have locations in all 50 states.
If that would still be too much stress on you financially, your best option is to head over to NeedyMeds.org. Using their drug pricing calculator, we checked the price in several zip codes for a 30-day supply of generic Norvasc using their free drug discount card and the best price was $7.78. There are also patient assistance programs that can help you get this medication at zero to very limited costs to you.