Why Generic Drugs Cost So Much

Generic Medications Cost too much money!

There's a wide variability in the cost of generic medications from pharmacy to pharmacy. Researchers at Saint Louis University surveyed 175 pharmacies and asked for their prices for the meds Lisinopril, Carvedilol, and Digoxin. These are common heart failure medications.

The researchers found that the prices for three generic medications ranged from less than $20 to more than $150, with the highest price for all three medications being $397 for a 1 month supply!

This is way too much money. If you spent $150/month on medications alone, it would cost $1800 for the year. In contrast, if you spent less than $20/month on these same medications, it would cost less than $240 for the year. This is a difference of $1,560. Unfortunately, these costs have the greatest adverse effect on low income communities because they may not have the transportation resources to drive to these less expensive pharmacies.

A possible solution is Direct Primary Care. DPC doctors like myself buy medications at wholesale prices and give them to our patients at cost, or with a 10% mark up to cover the cost of shipping and handling. For example, at our clinic Plum Health DPC, we can wholesale these same three medications for about $18/month.

I created this video to more fully explain what I mean, see below.

- Paul Thomas, MD