You can buy generic medicines on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and other online retail sites for about $5 to $10 per pill, according to a new study.
That’s lower than the cost of traditional medicines in some areas, but it’s not enough to justify spending up to $300 for a single dose of a brand-name drug.
For example, a single-dose of Tylenol for acne could cost you as little as $3.00 at Amazon, and that price includes taxes, insurance and shipping costs.
And that’s assuming you buy one of the generic versions, which can be quite expensive.
The study also compared prices for generics from three major drugmakers: Genentech (NASD:GLD) (OTCPK:GLTW), Mylan (NAS:MYL) (NASDA:MYLR) and Mylan’s own EpiPen, EpiVax (NYSE:EPP) (NYSEARCA:EPPD).
The study, “How much is too much for generico-generic medicine?” was published online by Medscape and analyzed the average price of generic drugs on Amazon and other retailers.
The authors say that the average cost of a generic is much lower than that of the brand-brand drugs because they’re less expensive.
“The average price per pill is lower than brand-generic prices because generic-brand products can be sold for a lower price than brand,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Robert Niebuhr of the University of Michigan Medical School.
The study included about 20,000 people who purchased generic medicines online between January and July of 2017.
The authors found that the generic prices are comparable to the brand price for the same drugs in the same class, and the generics were often less expensive than their brand-branded counterparts.
They also noted that generics tend to be more effective and lower in side effects.
The generic prices also match what you would pay in the U.S. on a prescription drug, although the authors say this is only true for some generic medications.
“Generic-brand generic prices tend to fall below brand-price prices on average, whereas brand-value generics do not,” they said.
The average generic price is lower, but the cost is much higher.
The average generic cost per pill ranges from $2.30 to $3, while the average brand-dollar price is $2,100.
The prices of generic medications vary by type of drug and brand, so the authors also compared costs across a wide range of generic drug products.
The results showed that generico generics can be more expensive than brand drugs, but generic-value generic medications were still cheaper than brand generic medications, even when compared with brand-drug brand-grade drugs.
The price difference between generico and brand-based generic medications is more than double the cost difference between generic-level and brand generic drugs, the study said.
That is the result of a number of factors, including the fact that generic drugs have more ingredients and more drug combinations than brand medications.
They tend to have fewer side effects, and they also tend to contain fewer ingredients, so you have fewer unknown risks.
“While generic prices might be lower than some brand-level generics, the price difference is still higher than brand price,” the study concluded.
The generic-drug-price gap is larger than the gap between generic drug prices and brand drug prices.
“Even though the cost differences between generic drugs are smaller than the generic-price difference, they still pose a major threat to the affordability of generico generic medications,” the authors said.
“In fact, the generic drug cost gap is much larger than any other major price gap in medicine.”
What do you think?
Is the cost gap between generics and brand drugs justified?
Do you think generic drugs should be available in every part of the country, or are they too expensive?
Let us know in the comments below.
This article originally appeared at Engadgets and was republished with permission.