Advair costs 1/3 the price in Europe

One of the values of traveling abroad is getting to see just how #1 your own country really is. It’s easy to think your country is best in everything, that nothing ever needs to change, and that Europe and Canada are somehow “broken” and thus great examples for what we shouldn’t do, when you don’t have a passport.

I went to the pharmacy in Paris the other day to get the cat’s asthma medicine (yes, every morning and night after inhaling my asthma medicine I get to hold down Nasdaq, the big fat black cat, and administer her asthma medicine). Nasdaq’s medicine, ironically the same as mine, was absurdly cheap. I decided to check and see how much my medicines cost in Europe. Here’s what I found.

(US prices are from Costco, which is usually the cheapest, and the French drugs are not the same brand names as the American drugs, but medical equivalents).

Advair 500-50 DISKUS – 1 month supply

US: $272.79 (gotta love the 79 cents)
France: 63 euros, or $89 (mind you, that’s with a very weak dollar)

So a one year supply of Advair will cost you $2200 more in the states than in Europe.

Symbicort 160-4.5 MCG, 11g – 1 month supply

US: $194.47 (again, 47 cents?)
France: 54 euros, or $77

And a year’s supply of Symbicort will cost you $1400 more in the states than in Europe.

As for the US pharmaceutical industry’s argument that they’d just go broke if we didn’t let them charge us a 300% mark-up over the cost of the drugs in Europe, then how does France’s very well-to-do pharmaceutical industry survive?


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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