/publications/issue/2006/2006-08/2006-08-5778

US Generics Still Cheaper than Imports

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Millions of American patients believe that they can save money on their prescription drugs by ordering from drug sellers in Canada. An FDA study, however, shows that they can save even more by switching to US generics. The study, published in 2004, concluded that 6 of 7 of the most popular generic drugs were cheaper in the United States than in Canada. US generics usually offer remarkable savings because their makers do not incur the usual investment costs involved with developing a brand name drug and are able to sell their products at a fraction of the branded cost.

John Henry, president of PrescriptionPoint, an on-line pharmacy with locations in both Canada and the United States, said, for example, "We sell the?generic version of Celexa, citalopram, for one quarter the price in the United States [as] in Canada." That company's site is one of many that help patients find the best prices by comparing brand names and generics from both the United States and Canada side by side. Competition in the US market lowers generic drug prices so that they are lower than drug prices abroad, according to FDA economists. US generics have the same quality, safety, and strength as brand name drugs, and they undergo the same rigorous review by the FDA before they are allowed on the market.