2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Four Easy Steps to Save a Bundle on Prescription Drugs

It might surprise you to learn that your doctor usually has no idea how much you’ll pay for your prescription medication. The information doesn’t appear in medical journals, and asking a drug rep usually brings an evasive “Our product is no more expensive than other medications in its class” or “It’s covered by your patient’s insurance.”

The reason for this is obvious. If physicians knew the price of many drugs, they might be reluctant to prescribe a medication so expensive it causes a patient to forego a few meals every month.

Americans pay the highest price on the planet for prescription medications because our government won’t negotiate with pharmaceutical manufacturers. The US is a cash cow for the multinational pharmaceutical industry, whose profits are enormous.

But drug store chains are little better. Their profit center isn’t in shampoo, cigarettes, or tacky electronics. It’s in the pharmacy.

Here’s why: for cost-saving reasons, insurance companies prefer to pay for drugs that have shifted over to generic equivalents (obviously, they don’t want to pay for the high-price brand-name drug). But when a drug does go generic, the pharmacies can charge you exactly what they want. And although they’ll charge you somewhat less than the brand name, their wholesale cost of a generic is so low that you’d be astonished at their profit. So the best way to describe their charge to you is “through the nose.”

Here’s one quick example:
Yesterday, I needed six capsules of amoxicillin, an antibiotic that went generic decades ago. At most, it should cost about $2.00. If I used my health insurance, the pharmacy could collect my co-payment ($15.00) AND bill my insurer for an additional $7.00. Therefore, on capsules that cost the pharmacy less than a dollar (wholesale), they could earn $22.00. By opting not to use my insurance I “only” paid $12.00. Get the picture? Even jewelry has a lower profit margin.

Here’s another example:
• The top cholesterol lowering medication is Lipitor, not available generically. One month’s supply of 10-mg Lipitor costs about $80.00.
• If your doctor were to switch you to the generic version of the similar drug Pravachol, the price drops only to $60.00 (if your doc doesn’t check “generic okay,” the price of brand-name Pravachol is a steep $93.00).
• This $60.00 might look cheaper than $80.00 or $93.00 until your check some of the pharmacies in Canada, where the price is a mere $26.00.

Are the drugs the same? Is the generic Pravachol from Canada the same as the generic Pravachol at your local drug store? Yes. Is the government lying to you when it tells you the Canadian drugs could be counterfeit? Let’s just say the pharmaceutical industry makes immense donations to politicians. Some politicians are merely repaying the debt owed for those donations.

Four easy steps to save a bundle on medications:
1. Ask your physician if your medication is available generically. If not, ask if there is a similar medication that has gone generic.
2. By far the cheapest walk-in pharmacy in the US is Costco, whose CEO is reportedly outraged by the high price of prescription drugs. And you don’t need to be a Costco member to use the pharmacy.
3. The best US on-line pharmacy is at Life Extension Foundation (www.lifeextensionrx.com or 1-877-877-9700). They’ll instruct you how to transfer your prescription to their pharmacy. By the way, their generic Pravachol, at $23.00, beats even Canadian prices.
4. It always pays to comparison shop. Canadian pharmacies have been dealing with Americans for years. You can Google “Canada pharmacies” and get a dozen or so. I’ve worked with www.canadadrugs.com for years with excellent patient reports.

You also might write your congressperson and ask for some action on all this.


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Upcoming Workshops


**Winter Solstice Celebration: An evening of Acupuncture and Shamanic Healing
Tuesday, December 17, 5:45–7:30pm
Hosted by Katie Oberlin, HTCP and Mari Stecker, LAc

Course Fee: $75.00

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to enter the stillpoint of the Winter Solstice, reflect on the lessons of 2019, and set intentions for the new year. This will be an evening of individual and group healing, ceremony, and celebration. More →

Recent Health Tips

  • Ten Drugs Doctors Should Consider De-Prescribing

    Physicians use the word polypharmacy when a patient is taking five or more prescription drugs daily. A recent survey showed that half of women Medicare recipients were taking five or more drugs daily, and 12% of them were taking ten (!) or more. New patients frequently arrive at WholeHealth Chicago carrying bags stuffed like piñatas with prescription drugs and nutritional supplements, the latter recommended by Read More

  • Toxic Metals, Heart Disease, and Chelation Therapy

    In last week’s Health Tip I reviewed the well-researched health dangers of environmental toxic metals (also called heavy metals). They’ve always been a serious health risk, but with the Trump Administration’s recent rollbacks of clean air and water regulations we can expect even more trouble ahead. Statisticians predict an astonishing 160,000 unnecessary deaths over the next decade from the reversals of clean air and water Read More

  • Heavy Metal Toxicity and Your Health

    For those who were otherwise preoccupied that day long ago in high school chemistry, the heavy metals refer to a group of especially dense metals or metal-like substances (called metalloids) found in the environment. These metals–specifically lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and aluminum–can all be absorbed by your body and stored there. Our environment is already quite toxic (Trump’s EPA deregulations aren’t helping) and it’s getting Read More

This month, save 20% off all Metagenics Medical Foods

UltraMeal
UltraInflamX
UltraClear