A new state website that allows New York State consumers to easily compare prescription drug prices for the 150 most commonly prescribed drugs at pharmacies in their neighborhood was announced last week by Governor Spitzer.
The site, www.rx.nyhealth.gov, searches drug prices by zip code, city, or county; provides brand-name and generic drug prices; lists pharmacies’ addresses and phone numbers; and provides driving directions. It was developed and will be maintained by the Department of Health.
In August 2004, then Attorney General Spitzer launched the state’s first website designed to allow consumers to find the cheapest prescription drugs. In 2005, legislation was sponsored to create a new more comprehensive site. Their bill was signed into law by Governor George Pataki later that year with the help of AARP, but the technology needed to build the website was not funded until Governor Spitzer’s first budget passed in 2007.
A 2006 analysis of web searches conducted by then Attorney General Spitzer found that consumers could save an average of 24 percent by buying their medications at the lowest prices in their neighborhood. The analysis showed that retail prices of seven of the 25 most commonly prescribed drugs varied by more than 100 percent across the state. For example, Atenolol (dosage: 50 mg; quantity: 30), a generic blood pressure drug, was $2.75 at its lowest surveyed price, in Seneca County, and $42.30 at the highest surveyed price in Suffolk County – almost 16 times more expensive. www.rx.nyhealth.gov updates prices on weekly basis and helps consumers make smart choices.
Examples of possible savings by using the new website include:
- In the Albany region, Celebrex (dosage: 200mg; quantity: 30), commonly prescribed to relieve arthritis pain, was $102.99 at the lowest surveyed price and $146.97 at the highest, a difference of nearly $44.
- In the Binghamton region, Crestor (dosage: 10mg; quantity: 30), a drug used to lower cholesterol, was $78.62 at the lowest reported price and $103.99 at the highest, a difference of over $25.
- In the New York City region, Allegra (dosage: 60mg; quantity: 60), an allergy relief drug, was $106.30 at the lowest surveyed price and $165.00 at the highest, a difference of nearly $58.30.
- In the Buffalo region, Lunesta (dosage: 3mg; quantity: 30), a commonly prescribed sleep aid, was $132.66 at the lowest reported price and $190.44 at the highest, a difference of nearly $58.
- In the Westchester region, Advair Diskus (dosage: 250 mg; quantity: 60), commonly prescribed for asthma treatment, was $193.62 at the lowest price and $325.50 at the highest price, a difference of $131.88.
- In the Syracuse region, Nexium (dosage: 40 mg; quantity: 30), which is prescribed for heartburn, was $153.13 at the lowest surveyed price and $207.00 at the highest, a difference of nearly $53.87.
Source: NYS Governor’s Press Release: 2/13/2008 – STATE ANNOUNCES NEW CONSUMER WEBSITE TO HELP NEW YORKERS FIND LEAST EXPENSIVE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS