The Growing Trend of Pharmacy Tourism

by Maria K Todd, MHA PhD

 CEO and Founder
Mercury Healthcare International

Many people don't follow their physician's instructions because they can't afford to do so. Part of the problem is that there is a solution to their problem but it is inaccessible where they live. They just cannot access the treatment because of its cost.

Enter Pharmacy Tourism as a solution that is gaining in popularity. Sometimes the savings realized by traveling for the prescription access more than covers the flight, the cost of the physician visit at the location, and the hotel stay for a long weekend away. Let's learn more...

telemedicine primary care

High prices for drugs generally exist when they are patented and serve a specific need with little or no “good” lower cost alternatives available

Ultimately, the costs will come down as patents expire and biosimilars come into the market. But what about those who need these life-changing prescriptions right now?

“The 39 most expensive drugs in the U.S. range from an annual cost of low $10,000's to high $500,000's.”

(See page 17 of the linked article for the list)

If you could pay $600-800 for a flight to another location, $150 per night or less for a few nights of hotel stay, see a physician for less than $100 who would review your records and write a local prescription for what you need, and be able to purchase a 90 day supply and save tends of thousands of dollars, would you do it? Would you accompany your grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, sister, brother, child, or close friend if they asked you to join them?

That's what is happening.

About 95 percent of specialty drugs and 85 percent of orphan drugs cost more than $10,000 per patient per year. Few branded and no generic drugs have annual per patient cost exceeding this threshold.
On average, approximately 700 drugs have increased their prices by 10 percent or more a year in the past five years. The vast majority of them are branded drugs. The number of drugs with double-digit price increases has slowed in the last two years for branded prescription drugs, indicating that scrutiny and accountability may help slow down price increases.