Vermont’s Attorney General released their prescription drug price comparison Web site (7/10), joining several other states already providing their residents with tools to compare prescription drug prices at pharmacies in their state.
The prescription drug price finder, located on the Attorney General’s website (http://www.atg.state.vt.us/display.php?smod=185), uses “usual and customary” retail price data that pharmacies submit to the state when they certify their prices for Medicaid reimbursement. The prices will be updated on a monthly basis, to reflect the latest prices certified by the pharmacies.
The website allows consumers to search, by county or by town, for the prices of the most popular prescription drugs in Vermont. There are approximately 90 prescription drugs listed on the website. The prices are not necessarily those that a consumer would be charged at the pharmacy because the prices are from one to two months earlier, and because many drugs are discounted for different classes of consumers.
The website demonstrates that retail prices for pharmaceutical products vary widely in Vermont. For the month of May 2007, the website indicates the following price disparities in Vermont:
- Advair Diskus (for asthma): 60 doses of 250-50 mcgs range from $176.90 to $233.13 in Chittenden County, for a 31.7% price spread.
- Lipitor (for high cholesterol): 30 pills of 20 mgs range from $112.31 to $153.55 in Rutland County, for a 36.7% price spread.
- Nexium (for stomach acid): 60 pills of 40 mgs range from $279.95 to $366.76 in Windham County, for a 31% price spread.
- Albuterol (for asthma): 17 doses of 90 mcgs range from $12.41 to $41.72 in Washington County, for a 238% price spread.