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

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!

em like plenty of herpes drugs are on the market, considering its prevalence. This is particularly true since pharmaceutical companies started developing these medications decades ago.

Despite this, there are not a lot of options for herpes drugs on the market. Also, the ones available are often too high.

However, what can you do if you cannot afford prescription drugs vital to your health? You can find out why these drugs are so expensive below and what you may have as an alternative.

What Is Herpes?

Viral infection Herpes transmits from bodily fluids, including saliva and secretions from the genital area. There are medicines available over-the-counter to treat herpes, but the virus stays dormant. Some prescription drugs cannot stop the flare-ups that happen from time to time genital herpes.

Many factors can cause herpes flare-ups, including stress, fatigue, or illness. Unfortunately, as of now, there is no known cure for herpes.

More than one strain of the herpes simplex virus (HSV) exists. The first is HSV1, or oral herpes, which can lead to cold sores and fever blisters. There is also HSV2 strain, which causes genital herpes.

How Much Does Herpes Medication Cost?

The cost of herpes drugs is expensive even when insurance is paying some of it. Below are the average price of herpes drugs in the United States.


The topical antiviral Denavir treats HSV1 symptoms. For example, using this cream, a person can treat a cold sore on their face.

There are two types of topical herpes medications: creams and ointments. Once an outbreak has begun, you can use the Denavir cream to help treat it.

Taking the medication as soon as you notice a cold sore forming will reduce the outbreak period. At the same time, it is hard to buy Denavir cream when a tube of less than an ounce costs between $20 and $25.

The outbreak of oral herpes is more difficult to hide than genital herpes. People often feel embarrassed when they have oral herpes, so they are willing to spend whatever they need to get rid of it.

Acyclovir Cream

Acyclovir cream is one of the cheap drugs for herpes. This topical antiviral medication treats Cold Sores and Herpes Simplex. The cost of acyclovir topical cream 5% is around $49. Of course, this depends upon which pharmacy you visit.

The cream prevents the virus from growing but does not cure or prevent future outbreaks. Also, a person may experience side effects such as cracked lips, burning, or flaky skin. You should inform your physician or pharmacist if any of these effects persist or worsen.


The medication Valtrex is among the most frequent prescription drugs to treat flare-ups of herpes. The drug is taken orally once a day to act as an antiviral.

The goal of the drug is to halt the progression of the herpes simplex virus by impairing the activity of an enzyme called deoxyribonucleic acid polymerase. The enzyme is necessary for HSV replication. In this way, the body will have fewer flare-ups when suppressing this enzyme.

The price of a 30-day supply of 500 mg Valtrex (500 mg) in the United States is approximately $450.00. If you want 1000 mg, it will cost you $730.00 for a 30 days supply.

What Causes Herpes Drugs to Be Expensive?

The pharmaceutical industry is at the root of high prescription drug prices. Retail prices are set by them, as well as deals with pharmacies, governments, and hospitals.

Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, the federal government affects consumers’ prices for prescription drugs such as herpes medications. Pharmaceutical companies have a maximum price they can charge consumers in most countries, but not in the United States.

Healthcare prices are being determined by the laws of economics implicitly by the U.S. government. Even though that decision has some standard, many would argue that it has not improved access to healthcare.

How to Save Money on Herpes Drugs?

If you’re struggling to buy your medicine in the United States, then consider buying Canadian Prescriptions. The Canadian pharmacy market may not offer cheap drugs, but it will be a better price than in the United States.

The United States tends to charge more for prescription drugs than other developed countries, including Canada. One study found that Canadian drug prices are 46% lower than the United States’ prices for brand-name drugs.

Drug prices are lower in Canada because the country’s government pays for prescription medications. Also, they refuse to pay for drugs whose costs are deemed excessive by a review board. The Canadian drug companies do not have the power to set the price of prescription drugs, unlike the United States.

Another reason Canadians have cheap drugs is that the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board restricts the price of new medications. The average price is based on the cost of the medicines in different countries, such as France. Afterward, manufacturers may lower their prices in Canada to the agreed-upon level or opt out of selling their medications.

Here’s How to Buy Herpes Drugs From Quality Prescription Drugs

Despite the fact that many Canadian drug companies are on the market, you need one to deliver high-quality drugs fast. You can order online and have the herpes drugs delivered to your steps within two weeks.

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-BS Pharm, PharmD, RPh

Dr. Paul Zickler is a graduate of the University of Wester Ontario in 1972. After graduating from the faculty of medicine, Dr. Zickler practiced as an Emergency Physician for 18 years. He has then operated ambulatory medical and travel clinics for 12 years. Dr. Zickler has become an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of British Columbia, a Director of Professional Programs for the Justice Institute of British Columbia (paramedic academy), a principal investigator for Phase 2 and 3 studies researching vaccines, and a founding member of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association. Dr. Zickler is passionate about combining western prescription medicine and natural medicines.

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