The skeptical cardiologist was shocked to hear from a patient last week that she would have to pay considerably more for generic rosuvastatin (GR) than Crestor, its brand name equivalent.
Crestor is the most potent statin we have at lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, raising HDL (good) cholesterol, and preventing strokes and heart attacks. It is also the best tolerated statin in my experience; I use it frequently at low or intermittent dosages in patients who have developed muscle aches on other statins.
In comparison to atorvastatin (Lipitor, the most widely prescribed statin), Crestor is less likely to interact with other medications and (very important for a surprising number of my patients), you can consume grapefruit when taking it.
When a generic (rosuvastatin calcium) of Crestor became available last year I rejoiced, believing that the high cost of Crestor would now drop to the levels we have typically seen with other generic statins.
For example, when Lipitor (atorvastatin, the statin market leader for 20 years) went generic, patients no longer worried about its cost.
Initially it seemed GR was much more affordable for my patients than Crestor, however recently, I have had many of them report a rise in its cost.
Why Would The Generic Cost More Than Crestor?
The reasons for brand name versus generic pricing are many and complex, and they yield insight into the legal machinations that Big Pharma engages in to maintain high patient pharmaceutical costs.
This NY Times piece from July, 2016 reveals how hard AstraZeneca fought to protect its exclusivity in selling Crestor and to prevent generics from entering the market. AstraZeneca’s last tactic involved a lawsuit claiming that their patent was protected by the orphan drug act. They lost and were heavily criticized:
“This case is not about the medical needs of a small population of pediatric patients with a rare disease,” the F.D.A. and Justice Department said in a brief filed in the lawsuit. “It is about AstraZeneca’s profit-driven desire to substantially extend its virtual monopoly on one of the world’s most popular medicines.”
There are other factors that slow the drop in generic prices. Consumer Reports, writing on the anticipated release of GR in May quoted an expert thusly:
“While some pharmacies drop the price as generics enter the market, others will hold it near the brand-name price as long as possible.” They get away with it, he says, because many customers who have health insurance pay a set co-pay regardless of the retail price. But those consumers who pay the entire cost of the drug themselves because they don’t have insurance or have a high deductible may not see the substantial savings that should come with generic availability.”
What an individual pays for drugs varies wildly depending on their insurance coverage. These costs are extremely hard for a physician to anticipate and rarely reflect the actual cost of drugs. Thus, in America, patients as consumers are often isolated from the true costs of pharmaceuticals to society.
Geo (he who was “on the fence” about taking a statin) asked me the following reasonable question about his GR prescription:
I did not pay anything for the 25 pills, however the paperwork states a cost of $220 if I had to buy this outside of a health insurance plan. Do you know if the health insurance company is being charged the $220, or do they negotiate a lower cost with the manufacturer?
Ninety pills of generic rosuvastatin cost a whopping $795 at a Walgreens in Brooklyn, NY, but 90 pills of brand name Crestor is $45.65 at a low-cost international online pharmacy,
8 thoughts on “Are You Paying More For Rosuvastatin (Generic Crestor) Than Brand Name Crestor?”
my husbands co pay for the generic is $47.00 a month.
Currently I have met my High Deductible so my insurance is picking up the tab for my Rosuvastatin prescription…at least for the next couple of months. Starting in January I will have to pay $282.49 for a 30 day supply of 20mg tablets. That is unless I can find some coupons. This past year before I met my deductible I was able to find a discount Rx card that allowed me to purchase the same prescription for $16.44.
I don’t have insurance. I must pay for all my medicines. I take Crestor 50 of 5mg for 17.00 from a local family owned pharmacy. it was 36.00 at a local walgreens and I was quoted 52.00 at a local Kmart pharmacy. The generic for the same number and dosage was 52.00 at the family owned pharmacy, 69.00 at Walgreen’s and 112.00 at the local Kmart Pharmacy.
Paying $8/90 @ 10mg Humana Pharmacy online thru Humana Ins.
Anthony. my price at Optum Rx/UHC mail order is: 90 of 5mg for $81.00.
C P is100 of 5mg for $66.00. Health Warehouse price is 100 of 5mg for $12.00.Wow ! those are much better prices. Dad
My prescriptions for generic Crestor is $10 for 90 tablets thru my Caremark insurance.
I have found all manner of shenanigans occurring at pharmacies over the past several months. It is likely it has been occurring for some time but my patients did not realize it until their deductibles started over again in January.
Rosuvastatin 10 mg Tablets
Quantity : 90 Tablets
Same price for 20 mg tablets
90 @ 40 mgs – $36.00
BTW – Healthwarehouse.com is located in Kentucky
7107 Industrial Rd.
Florence, KY 41042