SEP 30, 2019
Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Cornea/External Disease, Glaucoma
This paper compares United States and international drug pricing for commonly prescribed intravitreal and topical ophthalmic medications.
The authors performed a cross-sectional observational study to evaluate the consumer drug pricing or pharmacy acquisition costs of 25 commonly used intravitreal and topical ophthalmic medications in 6 countries.
Across U.S. pricing systems, the nonbranded IOP-lowering medications latanoprost and timolol maleate were consistently the least expensive medications among those studied. The main challenge of drug pricing, particularly in the United States, is the lack of transparency. Topical medications had a more limited and lower price range internationally, compared with in the United States.
The study is limited by the inability to compare out-of-pocket expenses for patients who purchase the same drug across different pricing systems in the United States and abroad.
Price differentials between nonbranded and branded medications can be significant, so the patient and physician should carefully consider this issue. Physicians and patients face challenges in predicting the cost of medications, given the lack of transparency in drug pricing.