This is a reprint of my ChicagoNow blog on the pricing of newly generic Arimidex, the widely used breast cancer drug. If you would like to subscribe to future editions of the LesliesList Blog you may do so here under the “+ Subscribe” button at the end of the post:
Breast Cancer Drug Pricing Disparity
The commonly prescribed breast cancer drug, Arimidex, was released as a generic in June 2010. The generic name is anastrozole. I called several local pharmacies last week to find out how much this medicine would cost for a one-month supply. I found some very surprising results:
Walgreens (with Saver Card): $325 (without Card): $380
These are not typos. Costco is selling a one-month supply of generic Arimidex for TWENTY SEVEN DOLLARS, while everyone else in town is selling it for over $300.
How can this be? Because Costco’s pricing policy is that they charge their customers the wholesale price plus a 14-15% mark-up. (And remember: you don’t need to be a Costco member to use the pharmacy.) The other pharmacies typically try to get as high a profit margin as they can when new generics are released, presumably because they know customers are used to paying an even higher fee for the branded medicine (e.g. non-generic Arimidex retailed for more than $400).
But come on. How can you justify extracting a profit margin of over 1000% FROM BREAST CANCER PATIENTS? That’s just unseemly.