January 4, 2022

Why Are Crohn’s and Colitis Drugs So Expensive: A Closer Look

Filed under: health — @ 11:08 pm
Cheerful pharmacist chemist

Did you know that inflammatory bowel diseases affect up to three million Americans? Although not life-threatening, Crohn’s and colitis drugs are critical in managing your debilitating symptoms.

However, the prices for these drugs can quickly increase, even with insurance, and many people are left scrambling. High costs can often result in missed refills or flat-out not taking the medication. Eventually, frequently missing your medication dose can put your more at risk for infections and hospitalizations.

Canadian pharmacies are a great option for helping Americans reduce the price of medications. If you have an interest in learning more about Crohn’s and Colitis drug prices, then keep reading on.

What Is Crohn’s and Colitis?

Crohn’s and Colitis fall under the category of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). At its core, both of these diseases cause inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. What does this lead to?

People often have very uncomfortable symptoms including cramping, bloating, and diarrhea. When comparing the two, Colitis largely affects the colon. On the flip side, Crohn’s disease can occur anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract.

However, these diseases also result in an inability for someone to absorb nutrition, difficulty digesting and eliminating food, and weight loss. For that reason, it is critical that people can manage their symptoms for Improved quality of life. Different ways IBD is managed are through lifestyle changes, diet, and medication.

High Costs of Crohn’s and Colitis Drugs

The costs of dealing with Crohn’s and Colitis are largely due to high rates of hospitalizations and doctor’s visits. Yet, medication edges out a large chunk of costs. The first year of treatment alone can cost patients tens of thousands of dollars.

What about the people who have been dealing with this for years?

Most people with insurance typically meet their deductible through medication costs alone during the first months of the year. Typically, there are two classifications of medications people use: oral medication and injections.

Oral Medications

As you might suspect, oral medications are slightly cheaper than their counterpart. Average out-of-pocket costs for uninsured individuals are around $600. Some of the common types of oral medications that people with IBD take are:

  • Aminosalicylates (e.g., Lialda)
  • Corticosteroids (e.g., Prednisone)
  • Immunomodulators (e.g., Azathioprine)
  • Antibiotics (e.g., Ciprofloxacin)

Keep in mind, antibiotics are used for treating infections and are not long-term solutions for treating Crohn’s or Colitis. Unfortunately, some people don’t always respond well to oral medications. When those aren’t working, you may have to make the switch to biologics.

The two most common oral medications that people take are:

  • Lialda
  • Mesalamine

Lialda is one of the most expensive drugs on this list at around $1,500 for a prescription refill. Its high expense is largely tied to it being a brand-name drug. There are a few generic versions of this medication like mesalamine and apriso.

To compare brand name versus generic, the suppository form of mesalamine costs just under $900.

What Are Biologics?

Biologics include living organisms. They encompass a large majority of what makes up the injections and infusions for treating Crohn’s and colitis. Unlike tablets and suppositories, these medications cost thousands of dollars for just one use.

There are three common biologics and injections on the market including:

  • Adalimumab (e.g., Humira)
  • Certolizumab pegol (e.g., Cimzia)
  • Infliximab (e.g., Remicade)

One dose of infliximab can cost almost $2,500. Unfortunately, many people need multiple infusions each year which can quickly add up without insurance.

Even with insurance, people are still required to pay at least part of the costs associated with medications. Even cutting down the majority of the cost of injections through insurance can place your out-of-pocket expenses at around $300 to $400.

What Causes High Prices?

What causes the exorbitantly high medication costs in the United States? One of the reasons was highlighted earlier in the article. Brand-name drugs are held under patents in America that can last for years. These patents largely keep generic brands from entering the marketplace and creating more competition for pricing.

If only one or two manufacturers create the drug, they can price it however they want. Once the patent expires, other generic brands can enter the playing field, but it doesn’t always work out that simple.

For starters, there is typically more than one patent for drugs in America. Once a single patent expires, there could be other patents in place. The complicated and muddled system of pharmaceuticals means generic brands could be waiting decades.

Second, because the patents last so long, it can make medications null and void as other drugs and treatments are discovered. Lastly, the lack of government regulation makes it challenging for setting price caps.

What has the result been? Many Americans are looking towards Canadian drug companies which offer more affordable prices.

Canadian Drug Prices

Did you know that you can purchase a 60-tablet supply of Lialda for under $140 through Canadian pharmacies? Canadian prescriptions offer cheap
drugs through an online pharmacy format.

Prescription drugs are cheaper through Canada largely because of the difference in government legislation.

Canada lowers the price of prescription medications through a couple of key methods. The biggest one falls on the role of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB). The PMPRB looks at the prices of prescription medications through other countries (excluding the United States) and sets an average out-of-pocket cost.

They also limit the maximum amount a manufacturer can place their brand-name drug at. With stricter regulations and price caps, brand-name drugs are much more cost-friendly.

Even generic brands are much cheaper through online Canadian drug prices. The price of mesalamine is only $44 for a 100-quantity supply.

Find Affordable Prescription Drugs

Finding affordable prescription refills for Crohn’s and colitis drugs can be challenging. Canadian pharmacies can help reduce your out-of-pocket costs while still providing you with quality prescriptoin medications.

Additionally, they can deliver them right to your doorstep. All you have to do is simply upload your prescription and a qualified pharmacist will review your order. Then, you can submit your billing and shipping information and you’re all set!

Check out our website today and upload your prescription to save hundreds of dollars.

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