Bradley S. Quon, MD, MBA; Rafael Firszt, MD, MBA; Mark J. Eisenberg, MD, MPH
Acknowledgments: The authors thank Derek Hart, MBA, for study design and Russell Steel, PhD, for statistical analysis.
Grant Support: None.
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Requests for Single Reprints: Mark J. Eisenberg, MD, MPH, Divisions of Cardiology and Clinical Epidemiology, Jewish General Hospital/McGill University, 3755 Cote Ste. Catherine Road, Suite A-118, Montréal, Québec, H3T 1E2 Canada; e-mail, email@example.com
Current Author Addresses: Dr. Quon: Suite 31, 795 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 1C9, Canada.
Dr. Firszt: 5618 Edgemore, Montréal, Québec H4W 1V5, Canada.
Dr. Eisenberg: Divisions of Cardiology and Clinical Epidemiology, Jewish General Hospital/McGill University, 3755 Cote Ste. Catherine Road/Suite A-118, Montréal, Québec H3T 1E2, Canada.
Author Contributions: Conception and design: B.S. Quon, R. Firszt, M.J. Eisenberg.
Analysis and interpretation of the data: B.S. Quon, R. Firszt, M.J. Eisenberg.
Drafting of the article: B.S. Quon, R. Firszt, M.J. Eisenberg.
Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: B.S. Quon, R. Firszt, M.J. Eisenberg.
Final approval of the article: B.S. Quon, R. Firszt, M.J. Eisenberg.
Statistical expertise: M.J. Eisenberg.
Administrative, technical, and logistical support: M.J. Eisenberg.
Collection and assembly of data: B.S. Quon, R. Firszt.
Many Americans have been purchasing their medications from online Canadian pharmacies. Although it is commonly perceived that medications are less expensive in Canada than in the United States, little research has been done to quantify this difference.
To compare the prices of retail brand-name medications between Canadian Internet pharmacies and major U.S. drug chain pharmacies with online pricing.
12 Canadian Internet pharmacies and 3 major online U.S. drug chain pharmacies.
The authors calculated the per unit and annual savings (in U.S. dollars) for an American if he or she were to buy the 44 brand-name medications most commonly purchased through the Internet from Canadian Internet pharmacies instead of from an online U.S. drug chain pharmacy.
Americans can save a mean of approximately 24% per unit of drug if they purchase their medications from Canadian Internet pharmacies instead of from major online U.S. drug chain pharmacies. Forty-one of the 44 brand-name medications examined were less expensive in Canada. The medications offering the largest mean yearly savings were Zyprexa (olanzapine) (Eli Lilly, Indianapolis, Indiana) ($1159), Actos (pioglitazone) (Eli Lilly, Indianapolis, Indiana) ($852), and Nexium (esomeprazole) (AstraZeneca, Wilmington, Delaware) ($772). Only 3 medications, all in the erectile dysfunction category, were more expensive in Canada.
Potential savings may vary because of temporal fluctuations in drug prices.
Brand-name medications are often substantially less expensive when purchased from Canadian Internet pharmacies instead of from major online U.S. drug chain pharmacies.
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Quon BS, Firszt R, Eisenberg MJ. A Comparison of Brand-Name Drug Prices between Canadian-Based Internet Pharmacies and Major U.S. Drug Chain Pharmacies. Ann Intern Med. 2005;143:397-403. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-143-6-200509200-00004
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2005;143(6):397-403.
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