There's a new category to consider if you're ever planning a move: What locals pay for their prescription drugs. The people of San Francisco pay 18% above the national average. Denver people pay 33.8% less. Think about it – it's close to 52%. (Yes, we said that too.)
This data, compiled for prescription platforms by GoodRx company, is the result of looking at the top 500 scripts written in 30 of the country's more populous cities. GoodRx pulled the top 5 most expensive places and the 5 cheapest places for release.
No rhyme or reason
The reasons for the differences? Obviously the cost of living. But GoodRx also mentioned that people get generic drugs, which are cheaper, from places like Costco and Walmart, or get 90-day deliveries. Denver? Who knows? Maybe it has more big stores.
Here are the 10 cities that GoodRx has listed on their website. The percentages given are all above or below the national average price for pharmaceuticals. Below are the top 5 most expensive cities for prescription drugs:
- San Francisco – 18.3% about
- New York City – 17.2% over
- Los Angeles – 15.7% over
- New Orleans – 13.2% over
- Milwaukee – 11.1% across
And these are the 5 cheapest cities for prescription drugs:
- Denver – 33.8% down
- Houston – 20.9% below
- Atlanta – 19.9% down
- Cincinnati – 17.7% down
- Salt Lake City – 16.3% down
The prices of certain therapies are also out of reach for many
GoodRx also looked at the therapies that cost the most. Neither of them is for the common cold or the common for that matter. Some are only one-time gene therapy treatments; Most must be given by a doctor. One thing is clear, however, without insurance or the drugmaker's copay support, these drugs – the cheapest at $ 633,325 per year – are likely out of reach for most of us. You can find the list at the end of the story.
We can say, based on a new report from the Commonwealth Fund, that 2 in 5 working-age adults in this country did not have permanent insurance from January to June 2020. More than a third had a hard time paying their medical bills. The survey included 4,200 working-age adults nationwide.
The Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit that helps support health policy research, found:
- 43% were either uninsured or had unstable insurance
- 9.5% had gaps in coverage
- 21% were essentially underinsured because the expenses or the deductible were so high compared to their income
The pandemic is creating problems
The pandemic only added to these people's insurance needs, said Dr. David Blumenthal, President of the Commonwealth Fund. The survey found that over the past decade, the percentage of adults who were privately insured and paid $ 1,000 or more for their deductible has increased from 22% to 46%. "Even before the pandemic, people were struggling with inadequate health insurance and increasing medical debt. It has never been more important to ensure that all US citizens have affordable, comprehensive coverage to survive this pandemic and beyond," he said in a press release.
Other results were that 25% of adults who had an employer plan were underinsured. An equal percentage, even if they had adequate insurance for 12 months, said they had trouble paying medical bills for the previous year.
And now for those drugs.
- Zolgensma – $ 2,125,000 (AveXis) This 1X gene therapy is intended for children under 2 years of age with spinal muscular atrophy.
- Myalept – $ 855,678 (Amryt Pharma) This is a hormone replacement drug for people with short bowel syndrome. People with SBS typically require intravenous feedings at least three times a week.
- Luxturna – $ 850,000 (Spark Therapeutics) Another gene therapy treatment, the first FDA approval in its class, is indicated for certain blind genetic disorders of the retina.
- Folotyn – $ 793,870 (Acrotech Biopharma) Folotyn is an injection approved for use in patients whose T-cell lymphoma has returned or simply does not go away.
- Brineura – $ 716,040 (BioMarin Pharmaceuticals) Brineura is approved for use in children diagnosed with Batten disease, a fatal neurological disorder. The drug is injected into the cerebrospinal fluid and slows the disease's attack on the child's ability to crawl and walk.
- Soliris – $ 678,392 (Alexion Pharmaceuticals) Soliris treats people with a type of rare inflammatory process called NMO, or neuromyelitis optica. The myelins, the protective covering around the nerves, are most susceptible to NMO.
- Blincyto – $ 672,968 (Amgen) Blincyto is an immunotherapy that allows the patient's own immune system to recognize and destroy the acute lymphoblastic leukemia cancer cells it contains.
- Ravicti – $ 664.092 (Horizon Therapeutics) This treatment contains nitrogen-fixing molecules that attract the excess ammonia in the body of patients with urea cycle disorders.
- Lumizyme – $ 643,243 (Sanofi Genzyme) Lumizyme is a bi-weekly injection used to treat Pompe disease. It replaces a missing enzyme that normally breaks down sugar in the body, sugar, which provides energy to an important muscle organ like the heart.
- Actimmune – $ 633,325 (Horizon Therapeutics) Another injection, Actimmune, helps treat chronic granulomatous disease, an inherited condition that makes certain cells in the immune system unusable and makes the body susceptible to infection by some bacteria and fungi.