Tag Archives: NPD

Where are the generic only pharmacies?

A few years ago when there was all the debate around Canadian reimportation of drugs, I had the opportunity to write the position paper for Express Scripts on this topic and work with our internal and external counsel to summarize our position with our clients.  At the time, payors and patients were very interested in getting branded drugs filled outside the US and shipped back to them.  [Or, in some cases, driving across the border to get the prescriptions filled.]

In working on that project, I learned that the government control that worked to keep brand prices low – at a simple level think one buyer – had the opposite effect on generics.  Generic drugs actually cost more outside the US where there is massive competition for the drugs.

As I have talked about before, consumers who pay cash pay a ridiculous mark-up on generic drugs even in the US.  Given those two facts, I remember talking with a friend of mine about opening generic only pharmacies just inside the US border to attract Canadian citizens.  Problematic legally I am sure, but the concept seemed like a genius move pre-Medicare Part D.  You could save the uninsured and seniors massive amounts of money.

I haven’t had the time to do the research, but I still have to believe there is an opportunity for a highly efficient pharmacy which offers generics closer to cost.  I would see it more like a membership.  You pay $100 per year to belong and you get your prescriptions for the pennies that they cost rather than your copay or the cash price.  Everyone wins.

But, here we are four or five years later and to the best of my knowledge no one has done it.


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