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We reported yesterday about a study currently being drafted by the US Surgeon General and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluding that while Canadian drugs get all the publicity for being less expensive than their US counterparts, the fact is that US generic drugs often are even cheaper “if patients will shop around.”

We commented that “the problem is that when consumers are sick and the doctor hands them a prescription, ‘shopping around’ isn’t always an option, or even the first thing on people’s minds.

MNB user Jim Hurst responded:

You write ““shopping around” isn’t always an option, or even the first thing on people’s minds.”

But ordering drugs from Canada is an option for someone who has just been handed a prescription that needs to be filled for treating a non-chronic illness?

We have to be more aggressive consumers in healthcare if we want to reign in costs.

Good point.

MNB user Tom Mahan chimed in:

While it is true that generic drugs are much cheaper than name brand drugs and in fact may very well be a better bargain than Canadian, many physicians will prescribe drugs that are new enough to where there is not a generic version. And as your point in the article reasons, a patient may not have the resources to find a generic especially when being treated for something specific with a newer drug.

Another MNB user wrote:

Wouldn’t be good to shop around and locate the best overall source of drugs before you get sick? Many drugs are “maintenance” drugs that are not needed in a hurry and can be shopped for just like food, a TV or a car. Just ask what the price is on the drug before you buy. That is something we just are not used to doing but should be.

And yet another MNB user wrote:

Plus, lets not forget that there are many drugs on the market that do NOT have a generic counterpart. These are those that people are complaining about ... one Rx for those with a heart transplant is $500 for on pill per month.

And still another MNB user offered:

C'mon, Kevin. If you're sick and the doctor hands you a prescription you're
NOT going to order the drugs from Canada and wait patiently for their
arrival. You're going to go to Costco, get them cheaper and be healing
before the Canadian drugs would arrive.

On the issue of educating consumers, one MNB user wrote:

I think that the comment - "consumers want to be educated, but it is not our job to do so" - misses the mark. Think of a place like Starbucks and how they have educated the consumer and created a whole new way to buy coffee and espresso drinks. Many consumers thought that a cup of coffee was a cup of coffee, and now they learn that what they really want is an espresso drink that includes milk and some sweetener or whipped cream or whatever. By offering a high quality, accessible product, Starbucks has educated the consumer and created highly profitable stores and highly loyal consumers. It's only now that other stores can capitalize on this trend - lattes at Dunkin' Donuts for example.
KC's View: