Advair, Symbicort charge Americans 5x what they charge Europeans

International pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca are charging Americans approximately five times what they charge the French for the popular asthma medicines Advair (Seretide in France) and Symbicort.

Advair 500 goes for $73 (55 euros) in France, while in America GlaxoSmithKline charges a whopping $391 for the drug (the most recent price at Costco). That’s 5.36x what they charge the French for the same exact drug.

And Symbicort goes for $60 (45 euros) in France, while in America AstraZeneca charges $272 for the drug, or 4.5x what it charges the French.

Advair sells as "Seretide" in France, where the drug is five times cheaper than it is in America.

Advair sells as “Seretide” in France, where the drug is five times cheaper than it is in America. And not because the French subsidize the price, but rather because they negotiate the price and the US refuses.

Merck is even worse. The pharmaceutical giant charges Americans $197 for Asmanex 200.

And how much does Merck charge the French? $25 (19 euros). Yes, Merck charges Americans 7.9x what it charges the French for the exact same drug.

Oh, and that’s the price the French pay BEFORE their insurance picks up most or the tab.

I confirmed the price discrepancies while shopping at a local pharmacy in Paris this week.

As the chart below shows, the drug companies’ actions are even more duplicitous than simplying charging customers more based on their American citizenship.

Over the past five years, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has raised the price of Advair by 43% in the US market. But in France, GSK dropped Advair’s price by 13% over the same period.

AstraZeneca similarly raised its prices for Symbicort in America by 40% from 2009 to 2014, while dropping its prices by 17% in France over the same period.

advair-symbicort-asmanex

We’ve written extensively about the incredible mark-up pharmaceutical companies charge Americans.  It’s the reason a growing number of US insurance companies are refusing to pay for Advair at all.

Of course, as I noted in a story earlier this year, the NYT got it wrong when it suggested that Advair competitor Symbicort was somehow charging a fair price in comparison. AstraZeneca’s price is only “fair” if you consider gouging Americans with a 4.5x markup better than gouging us with a 5.36x markup.

As economics professor Steve Kyle explains, the reason the prices are different in the US and France is because the French government negotiates drug prices while the American government does not.

In fact, it’s illegal for the US government to negotiate the price the Medicare program pays for prescription drugs. Why? Because of US senators like Delaware’s Tom Carper, who are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the drug companies — in Carper’s case, the company that owns him is AstraZeneca. (The Republicans are just as bad).

So the next time you consider giving Carper a donation, or voting for him, keep in mind that he’s the reason you’re paying nearly 5x what you should be for that asthma drug that’s saving your kid’s life — assuming you can afford it at all.

In fact, an American mom just posted the following on Facebook:

My son needs Symbicort for his asthma but even with insurance we cannot afford the $90 copay so we no longer buy it. There is no generic. We just keep our fingers crossed he does not have an asthma attack. This article really upsets me.

As Dr. Thoma wrote yesterday, high copays is one of the ways that insurance companies still manage to undercut health care for people they’re required to cover under Obamacare.

We’re #1.


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, .

Share This Post

  • GarySFBCN

    Sorry I’m so late with this – but in Spain, Seretide 100/50 is 45 euro.

  • stephaniejmota

    s­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­a­­­­­­­­­r­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­ wor­­­­­­­­­king a­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­ home wit­­­­­­­­­h Google! It­­­­­­­­­’s­­­­­­­­­ by-fa­­­­­­­­­r­­­­­­­­­ t­­­­­­­­­he bes­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­ job I’ve ha­­­­­­­­­d. La­­­­­­­­­s­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­ Wednes­­­­­­­­­da­­­­­­­­­y I got­­­­­­­­­ a­­­­­­­­­ br­­­­­­­­­a­­­­­­­­­nd new BMW s­­­­­­­­­ince get­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­ing a­­­­­­­­­ check for­­­­­­­­­ $6474 t­­­­­­­­­his­­­­­­­­­ – 4 weeks­­­­­­­­­ pa­­­­­­­­­s­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­. I bega­­­­­­­­­n t­­­­­­­­­his­­­­­­­­­ 8-mont­­­­­­­­­hs­­­­­­­­­ a­­­­­­­­­go a­­­­­­­­­nd immedia­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­ely wa­­­­­­­­­s­­­­­­­­­ br­­­­­­­­­inging home a­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­ lea­­­­­­­­­s­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­ $77 per­­­­­­­­­ hour­­­­­­­­­. I wor­­­­­­­­­k t­­­­­­­­­hr­­­­­­­­­ough t­­­­­­­­­his­­­­­­­­­ link, go? t­­­­­­­­­o t­­­­­­­­­ech t­­­­­­­­­a­­­­­­­­­b for­­­­­­­­­ wor­­­­­­­­­k det­­­­­­­­­a­­­­­­­­­il

    >>>>>>>>>> http://xurl.es/a9vbw

    =======================================

  • http://hunteratrandom.blogspot.com/ rmthunter

    A few thoughts after reading through the comments:

    Yes, the drug prices we pay are obscene. Keep in mind that in the good ol’ US of A, health care, like anything else, is not about providing care — it’s about profits — the howls about the ACA rule that requires 80% of premiums go toward provider payments should be proof enough of that — and 80% is still letting them off easy. It’s going to be about profits until we have single payer. (Which means when enough people in Congress and the White House grow the balls to tell Health Care Inc. to piss off.)

    A few of you have mentioned the discounts providers give to insurance companies; I’ve also noticed that the “retail” price of check-ups and procedures is usually three or four times what Medicare allows. There is something seriously wrong there in the basic pricing structure — any provider that thinks it’s going to make up the difference from the uninsured is living in dreamland.

    Obviously, ask your doctor to OK generics where possible. I use generics for everything but Advair (because there isn’t one available as far as I know). With my Part D coverage, my main hypertension med (amlodipine) is $5/month; my cholesterol med (atorvastatin) is $10; and my doctor (who happens to be one of the most beautiful men alive) added a new hypertension med/beta blocker that came to about $2.50 for a two week trial supply, so I figure if it becomes ongoing, it will be about $5/month. I spend more for vitamins than prescription meds, except for the Advair, which comes to $45/month for me. My insurance company keeps sending me mailers about their favored mail-order pharmacy, which I’m reluctant to try only because my pharmacy is convenient, they all know me at this point, I can pick up a prescription on the way home from the doctor’s office (the office e-mails them in and the stop where I change buses is right there), and Chicago has the worst mail delivery in the country.

    I suspect my pharmacy (Osco) is not the only one with its own discount programs. Mine put me on their discount program before I got Part D coverage; they also have a program to cover something like 500 generics at $3 or $4 /month for a 30-day supply or $10/month for a 90-day supply.

    Make sure your doctor is not over-medicating you. Mine had me on Advair 250 *and* Spiriva, with Proventil (albuterol) as an “emergency” inhaler, for moderate COPD. After a month of this, I realized only need the Advair, so I’m saving about $120/month on unnecessary medications. My sister recently changed doctors, and one of the first things the new one did was take her off some of her medications — they were too much.

    We can work the system, too.

  • ArthurDBusch

    s­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­a­­­­­­­­­r­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­ wor­­­­­­­­­king a­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­ home wit­­­­­­­­­h Google! It­­­­­­­­­’s­­­­­­­­­ by-fa­­­­­­­­­r­­­­­­­­­ t­­­­­­­­­he bes­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­ job I’ve ha­­­­­­­­­d. La­­­­­­­­­s­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­ Wednes­­­­­­­­­da­­­­­­­­­y I got­­­­­­­­­ a­­­­­­­­­ br­­­­­­­­­a­­­­­­­­­nd new BMW s­­­­­­­­­ince get­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­ing a­­­­­­­­­ check for­­­­­­­­­ $6474 t­­­­­­­­­his­­­­­­­­­ – 4 weeks­­­­­­­­­ pa­­­­­­­­­s­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­. I bega­­­­­­­­­n t­­­­­­­­­his­­­­­­­­­ 8-mont­­­­­­­­­hs­­­­­­­­­ a­­­­­­­­­go a­­­­­­­­­nd immedia­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­ely wa­­­­­­­­­s­­­­­­­­­ br­­­­­­­­­inging home a­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­ lea­­­­­­­­­s­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­ $77 per­­­­­­­­­ hour­­­­­­­­­. I wor­­­­­­­­­k t­­­­­­­­­hr­­­­­­­­­ough t­­­­­­­­­his­­­­­­­­­ link, go? t­­­­­­­­­o t­­­­­­­­­ech t­­­­­­­­­a­­­­­­­­­b for­­­­­­­­­ wor­­­­­­­­­k det­­­­­­­­­a­­­­­­­­­il

    >>>>>>>>>> http://xurl.es/z59wl

    =====================================

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Half what they charge, since the insurance companies renegotiate their rates whenever they feel like it. It’s handy, but still doesn’t help with prescriptions. Just procedures, sometimes labs.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Mexico has different rules, you can get a lot of things down there over the counter that require a prescription in the US and Canada.

    I’m sure if you did some research you could find a legitimate Canadian pharmacy to order from. I hear people talking about ordering from them all the time, so some of them have to be above board.

  • Tony Mac

    Well, I don’t use eye drops normally except for some OTC stuff during allergy season but for the cataract surgery I had to use four different types pre and post op. Each cost $8 thus $24 total.

  • lynchie

    Don’t know where they are made. They are not generic though they are also available. I get Plavix from this Pharmacy. It is Canadian Pharmacy at
    http://www.canadianphamacy.com, their phone number is 866-920- 3784 and they are located in British Columbia. I was nervous at first and only ordered 1 month supply but everything has been smooth for past 2-1/2 years. i suggest phoning and getting your concerns answered. They are mailed from British Columbia.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    My eyedrops cost me like $100 to $150 per bottle :)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Half what they “charge,” or half the negotiated rate they already have with insurance companies? That would be great if it’s half the rate they charge insurance companies (or perhaps not great, but helfpul).

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    The blame is Dems and Republicans, and drug companies. Drug companies buy off US politicians in order to over-charge American consumers by an absurd amount, and the US politicians permit it because like Sen. Carper they’re paid off by the drug companies. Blame both.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I use Costco for everything, it generally is cheaper.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Singulair is now generic – it’s like $20/month at Costco. the other drugs are intriguing, but I’d want to know where they’re made, and that the pharmacy is really Canadian, and not a web site registered in Canada.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I don’t trust either one. Some of the online “Canadian” pharmacies are simply web sites registered in Canada. I trust medication made by a big drug company in western Europe. I don’t really trust the other stuff. And if no Rx is needed, that should be a huge red flag IMHO.

  • TheOriginalLiz

    The entire purpose of the “little people” in this country is to host the parasitical 1%.

  • epazote

    Symbacort 30 day supply (inhaler) $42 US in Mexico’s pharmacy’s. No prescription needed. They don’t sell over the internet.

  • DesertSun59

    The best profits lobbyists can buy!

  • ComradeRutherford

    “Advair, Symbicort charge Americans 5x what they charge Europeans”

    Well, yeah, because who’s going to stop them? Nobody!

    This is why the GOP and Glibertarians want to eliminate government, so drug companies can increase their prices (among other reasons).

    According to Official Republican Party Policy, if you aren’t a multi-millionaire, you don’t deserve to live.

  • http://buddybest.tripod.com/index.html BuddyNovinski

    Right on, John! It’s about time we hit these people with real capitalism!

  • emjayay

    That’s why I got the Advantage, odious as it may be in other ways. Plus no paperwork.

  • emjayay

    Yeah, there is no extra charge for the Medicare Advantage, just the basic $105. I’ve had Kaiser Permanente (real centralized HMO), and fed gov Aetna HMO and an Advantage, both in NYC. Aetna HMO and the Advantage are pretty much identical. Nothing like Kaiser except the no paperwork. No referrals necessary, no charge to me for primary care, $10 for specialist, no paperwork, drugs on a flat rate tiered formulary, three months suppy for the price of two by mail order. I have found good docs of all types on their lists.

  • Demosthenes

    But but . . . Freedom!

  • Mark_in_MN

    In May, the Medscape website published an article of the top 100 prescribed drugs in the United States. The data covered 12 month averages from April 2013 to March 2014. Adviar Diskus was the 5th most prescribed medication with 15,454,755 monthly prescriptions (new and refills). Ranked by sales, Advair Diskus was also number 5 on the list, with Medscape giving the sales at $5,112,576,549. Yes, that’s more than $5.1 billion, with a “B,” in sales on average in a month. (It has to be per month instead of per year, because otherwise they’d have an average sale of $27.57 per prescription, which is clearly not the case.)

  • http://www.redheadedfemme.com/ BB-Mystic

    I was just wondering John, could you get your medications from a Canadian or Mexican pharmacy?

  • bkmn

    If you have a Costco near you, you should see if you can get the medication through their pharmacy. My generic blood pressure meds are less than the copay my insurance would like to charge. Their mail service is even cheaper and very easy to use.

    To maximize savings you need to have your physician write for a 90 day supply.

  • nicho

    Medicare is NOT single-payer universal. It covers only 80 percent of the cost. If you say your new medicare for all would pay 100 percent, charge no premium, and cover everyone, you’re no longer talking about Medicare.

  • lynchie

    I agree, but we can’t because the FDA prohibits it. we do not live in a democracy.

  • NCMan

    Well, I already said I don’t approve of Medicare Advantage. And, I would eliminate that altogether when going to medicare for all, which is single-payer universal health care. You will always have private insurance companies selling supplemental policies to cover co-pays and other costs not covered by single-payer. Unless you are suggesting a universal, single-payer system that covers 100% of any medical procedure any person wants or needs.

  • Sandbur

    I take Advair 250 for my COPD. With my Humana insurance, I pay $125.00 for a 3-month supply. The same is paid for Spiriva, another COPD drug I am prescribed.

  • nicho

    Medicare’s costs are lower, but the insurance companies’ costs have to be figured in too. But Medicare does not get the insurance companies out of it. You either have them selling the supplemental policies or running the Medicare Advantage programs. We need single-payer universal health care. Get the for-profit insurance companies out of it altogether.

  • NCMan

    Medicare has much, much lower administrative costs than insurance companies. As I understand it, “Medicare for all” would really be “for all”. Meaning it would cost you based on what you can afford. Similar to now how the really poor get Medicaid at no cost. And, similar to Obamacare subsidies for everyone else based on income. The advantage of getting the insurance companies out of this is that a single-payer system saves on administrative costs (less than 5% in Medicare) and eliminates the profits that go to insurance companies. Yes, the insurance companies would still be in the business of selling and profiting from supplemental plans. But, they would be cut out of the basic medicare plans.

    The other HUGE benefit from this would be to get private employers out of supplying insurance. They could compete against international companies easier. By eliminating their insurance costs, they could raise salaries. Or, they could supply supplemental insurance for their employees as a benefit if they wanted to.

  • nicho

    OT, but slightly related, Catholic Church is opposing the Ice Bucket Challenge, because it interferes with their hateful, mindless ideology.

    http://www.sfgate.com/news/us/article/Ohio-Catholic-diocese-discourages-ice-challenge-5702712.php

    I have misgivings about the challenge because medical research and the health of the population should b a function of government. Corporations should have to have bake sales for CEO’s bonuses.

  • nicho

    You’re absolutely right. However, and it’s a big however, the supplement plans aren’t cheap. I have a supplement plan — an inexpensive one through my old union (non-union people would pay much more than I do). Long story short: between the monthly fee to the government, which everyone pays, the supplement premium, my deductible, and my monthly Part D coverage, I pay $363 a month (not counting pharmacy co-pays). A lot of people can’t afford that. This is why I oppose the idea of “Medicare for all.” It still leaves the insurance companies in the driver’s seat — and the paperwork, and therefore administrative costs, are incredible.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Meh, Congress are the very definition of cheap whores. Lobbying them accounts for less than 0.001% of the pharmaceutical industry’s annual profits.

  • http://michaelhawthorneonline.com/ MikeinSanJose

    They need the extra profits to pay off the US Congress for passing laws that allow them to do this…

  • NCMan

    I hope the French system is better than “Medicare Advantage”. Those plans are a ripoff for both the government and the customers. Every one of those I have looked at, a person would have better coverage by taking medicare and buying a supplemental or “medi-gap” policy instead of going with an “Advantage” plan. Advantage plans force you into an HMO situation with “in-network” docs and services. All they legally have to provide is the same coverage as medicare. So, it’s rare if any of them provide better coverage than Medicare. My father had an Advantage plan and it didn’t cover any more of his dialysis expenses than Medicare would. The only thing Advantage plans get you is some discounted drugs, and always generics and some discounts on OTC drugs, discounts at health club memberships etc,,, ON the other hand, my mother had a medicare supplemental plan and it always covered 100% of her expenses that her medicare didn’t cover. And, she wasn’t forced into an HMO.

  • NCMan

    how so? Medicare for all would eliminate insurance companies from the process except for the sale of private medicare “supplemental” or “medi-gap” insurance to cover the medical costs and co-pays that are not covered by medicare.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    The sad part is, they don’t even need to “reformulate slightly” anymore. My medication went from daily dosing to three times a week dosing, and the company was granted a new patent. The medication hasn’t changed at all. The packaging hasn’t even changed. Just the wording on the instructions for use. Not only that, as soon as the new dosing schedule hit the market, it immediately became harder to get a prescription with the original dosing – and the original daily dosing is now more expensive, obviously to discourage people from trying to get it and go with the newer dosing, because technically the original daily dose “formula” is now able to be made as a generic. Even though nobody is making it yet. They undoubtedly knew that this new dosing was perfectly viable when the drug was introduced to the market a decade ago, but chose to be manipulative to hold onto their patent longer.

  • nicho

    Medicare is not the utopia many imagine it to be. The insurance companies are still in control. Medicare for all is NOT the answer.

  • GeorgeMokray

    Live in the USA, get my generic Advair from Canada with a prescription from my local doctor. Have been doing this for years. I paid $90 with $7.95 for shipping for 180 doses of generic Advair 250/50 in June. Choice Pharmacy in case you want to try it.

  • NCMan

    Americans can’t get decent coverage at a decent cost because the voters and the politicians are not willing to pay the taxes the government would need to be able to afford the same type of care you get as a veteran for all citizens.

    When you start comparing the cost to the people for health care in other countries like France and Canada, you have to also consider what other costs the citizens of those countries are paying in the form of taxes.

    I fully support a “Medicare for all” type of system for the U.S. and I also support raising taxes to be able to afford to pay for it.

  • NCMan

    Why should we have to import drugs from Canada when our politicians could just legislate the same price controls in place here that exist in Canada?

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Actually, if you don’t have insurance, be sure to mention it up front before any procedure and talk to the billing staff. Having dealt with this for some time, every medical provider I’ve encountered has been happy to offer me a negotiated rate that is about half what they would ordinarily bill an insurance company. Hardly bankruptcy preventing if you need a five figure surgery, but hey, every bit helps.

  • emjayay

    Thanks, yes I do understand that too. My point was that they do get the retail services prices down to 10 to 50%, so why not the drugs? Of course, with patents a lot of drugs are take-it-or-leave-it, and the drug companies do things like bribe generic manufacturers to not make them or reformulate slightly to get a new patent. Maybe just having the whole country instead of individual insurance companies being the adversary just provides more muscle, but there must be more to it.

  • GarySFBCN

    Yes – we the people continue to vote against our best interests.

  • nicho

    It must be our stupidity, because the people I named are all living quite well off of our misery.

  • lynchie

    JOHN; I buy my drugs from Canada and have done for years. I went to their web site and here are the prices. Now i know there is know difference in dosage but i got the following.

    Singular 10 mg 90 day supply $217.00

    Advair 250 mg 180 day supply $212.00

    Symbicort 200 mg 360 days $337.00

    Asmanex 200 mg 360 day supply $247.00

    Plumicort 100 mg inhaler 600 doses $131.00

    It wasn’t clear how many pills you got or the strength. It is mailed to me and in2-1/2 years i have never had a problem. The company says if it is lost they will replace at no charge but so far so good. If you need more info let me know.

  • GarySFBCN

    Thanks for posting this, John. I’ll post a comment with the prices in Spain.

  • GarySFBCN

    Blame stupidity.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Their research isn’t just subsidized by the feds, the groundwork for much of it is done at public universities. Only when something finally shows promise for making a lot of money do the pharmaceutical companies secure a patent and begin to actually seriously invest in it. Nobody in the pharma industry even gets to fart without a cost-benefit analysis.

  • lynchie

    put the blame on both. The companies for gouging. In many cases they have their R&D subsidized by the feds. the major blame goes to Bush II and Obama who met in private with the executives of big Pharma and cut deals. Blame our Congress as well who pressured the FDA to get them to prohibit importing from places like Canada where the prices are 1/4 or less than the same drug in the U.S.

  • nicho

    Britain has no problem paying for expensive Hep-C drug — unlike the US

    http://www.pnhp.org/news/2014/august/britain-has-no-problem-paying-for-expensive-hepatitis-c-drugs

  • nicho

    Place the blame? All of the above. Big Pharma, Big insurance, Obama, Bush, AARP, you name it. They’re all in it together.

  • Tony Mac

    John — As a veteran, I pay only $8 for whatever prescription I get through the VA. Fortunately, I only take a blood pressure pill but I have no idea what it might cost on the “free market.” BTW, I recently had cataract surgery at the Columbia SC Dorn facility. Absolutely top notch care, worry-free surgery and the cost — my total bill was $24 —that was for the eyedrops…I just don’t know why all Americans can’t get decent coverage at a reasonable cost. Well, yeah I do know — bought and paid for politicains working for the Big Pharma and health insurance industries…

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Exactly. Except for “full amount” you should have said “price-gouging surcharge”.

    We have this problem because Big Pharma owns our Congress. Shame on all of us for allowing this to continue and the Democrats aren’t much better than the Republicans (at least not better enough that a Democratic majority makes any difference). (I hate sounding like that socialist guy who trolls here, but in this case I don’t know how to avoid it.)

  • NCMan

    This is all excellent information. I wish you had included it in your original post. It would have cleared up my misunderstanding. But, at least by making my comment, you have been able to better inform all your readers who read the comments.

    Now, as a follow-up. Where should we place the blame? On the drug companies? Or on our politicians who could, if they wanted to, implement a system as good or better than the one in France.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    But Emjayjay, that’s a fallacy. Yes, if you’re lucky enough to have good insurance they neotiate the absurdly overinflated price of, say, 10x what it’s worth down to, say 3 to 5 times what it’s worth. My retinal detachment surgery in France cost 1600 euros, or sa $2300 at the time. In the US, it would have been $20k to $25k, and my insurance would have negotiated it down to around 1/3 of that, or $7500, of which I’d pay 10%, or $750. I guess you could say $750 isn’t bad, assuming you have $750 to pay. But of course, my insurance company had to pay $7000 for surgery that only costs $2300 in France, which means the insurance will simply charge the rest of us more for our coverae in the future.

    Oh, and if you don’t have insurance, you don’t get the negotiated rate at all. They just charge you the full amount.

    Paying 1/3 to half of a price that’s inflated 10 times is not a bargain anywhere outside of America :)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That comment is incorrect on a number of levels.

    First off, these are the prices BEFORE insurance kicks in, these are the prices BEFORE French people pay their copay. These are the prices I pay as a foreign walking into a pharmacy just like a Frenchman would pay walking into a pharmacy in America. These prices are akin to the Costco price BEFORE you determine what your American insurance will pay and what you will pay for the drug. The French copay is only a handful of euros on the already absurdly low price (as compared to America) of some 18 euros or 55 euros.

    Second, what “price” exactly do people with “rx drug insurance” pay in America? Do you mean, the $1,500 a year max that my current health insurance pays for my prescriptions, which gets me nowhere near the $3,000 a year my Advair costs? And that doesn’t include the Singulair I take, which I believe costs around $350 to $500 per year, or the Pulmicort I have to occasionally supplement it with, which costs about as much as Symbicort? All of my ashtma drugs toether come to about $500 to $600 a month in the US, that’s $6000 to $7000 per year. Or do you mean the Obamacare plans that would either charge me like 30% tp 50% of the drug price — so I “only” pay $3000 to $3500 per year — or the Obamacare plans that charge me something like $50 a drug, so I “only” pay like $2000+ per year?

    Or do you mean the woman who commented on my Facebook page, and can’t even afford the $90 copay per month in America, so she’s not paying anything for her child’s asthma drugs because he’s not getting any at all:

    “My son needs Symbicort for his asthma but even with insurance we cannot afford the $90 copay so we no longer buy it. There is no generic. We just keep our fingers crossed he does not have an asthma attack. This article really upsets me.”

    Now, the better Obamacare plans — for which I’d pay like $700 a month for (which I pay now already) — have maximum annual limits of like $2000 per year, which helps to limit the costs. (And then, of course, it means my insurance company is picking up the insanely expensive cost of these drugs and simply passing it back to all of us in higher premiums).

    Basically, in France they have what is akin to our Medicare. They have a basic coverage they pay for, and then can pay extra for additional private insurance that covers what the basic plan does not cover (akin to Medicare advantage). And the French version of Medicare for all negotiates prices with big pharma. The US version is banned from negotiating prices

  • NCMan

    You are comparing apples to oranges aren’t you? The price you are quoting in France is for “socialized” medicine. And, you are comparing that to a consumer price in the US. You should compare the price to what a consumer with prescription drug insurance in the US pays. Basically all citizens in France have government provided prescription drug insurance.

  • nicho

    My Big Pharma insurance recently told me it was changing my copay for the (generic) drug that I take. It used to be $8 a month. Now, they want to charge me $43 a month copay. The retail price of the drug is $23 for a month’s supply. The insurance company suggested I use other medications — both over the counter, which I know from experience don’t work. In other words, they’re taking my premium but won’t pay for a generic drug.

  • emjayay

    We don’t have any price controls on drugs, but insurance companies do use their market clout to contain provider fees. Both health insurance companies I have had would pay 20 to 50% or so of various fees charged. Both used some mail order pharmacy for long term prescriptions. Both charged flat rates to the customer depending on levels in the formulary, so they could save for both ends if they got prices down. But anyway, there must be a reason why they don’t bargain prices down to somewhere near what everyone else is paying.

© 2014 AMERICAblog News. All rights reserved. · Entries RSS