Ontario cancer patient shocked after learning she has been overpaying for medication

TORONTO -- A cancer patient from Brighten, Ont. has been taking the same medication for years, but when she recently switched pharmacies she was shocked to find out the same drug was much cheaper. 

Ontario cancer patient shocked after learning she has been overpaying for medication
Ontario cancer patient shocked after learning she has been overpaying for medication

TORONTO -- A cancer patient from Brighten, Ont. has been taking the same medication for years, but when she recently switched pharmacies she was shocked to find out the same drug was much cheaper. 

“The actual drug itself was $20 dollars more at the drugstore I had been using for the past four years,” Pam Pherrill told CTV News Toronto.

Pherrill takes the generic drug Letrozole and will have to continue to take it in the future. As a breast cancer survivor, Pherrill said she is doing well on her road to recovery.

“Letrozole is supposed to stop the cancer from spreading further and going into your bones," Pherrill said.

A 30-day supply of the drug at Rexall was $79.69. The same amount of the same drug at Pharmasave was $58.03. A difference of $21.66. 

Pherrill was aware dispensing fees differ from pharmacy to pharmacy but thought that actual price of the medication would be the same. 

She doesn’t have a drug plan.

“It dawned on me, because I only found out four years later that I had spent $1,057 dollars more on just the drug itself," Pherrill said.

CTV News Toronto reached out to Rexall and a spokesperson said that “Rexall regularly reviews its prices to ensure it provides the most competitive offers to its customers and patients. As part of this work, our prices are sometimes higher or lower than other retail pharmacies on various products. In this case, we understand that our price was higher than another local pharmacy, and we are reviewing it on a go forward basis in an effort to continue to serve our patients with the highest quality care.”

Millions of Canadians take prescription drugs on a daily basis and for those without a drug plan the costs can really add up, which is why Pherrill is advising anyone with prescriptions to shop around. 

“When you get a prescription that you know you're going to be taking for the remainder of your life or for the foreseeable future, phone around because you would be absolutely shocked at the difference in price of a generic brand drug," Pherrill said.

Prices for medications can even vary within the same chain so it's always a good idea to check. If you're taking a name brand drug and your doctor agrees you can also ask if there is a cheaper generic brand available to try and save money. 

Source: ctvnews.ca