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Volume Discounts

Buying medications in volume saves money. Lets explore pricing for three widely available drugs that belong in everyone’s medicine chest: Advil® , aspirin, and Zantac® . These drugs are available for sale virtually everywhere. Lets start shopping by comparing the price paid at Eckerd Pharmacy for brand name Advil® versus generic ibuprofen  based on quantity purchased. Since prices are subject to change, the prices at stores near you may be somewhat different.

Brand Name
Advil®  200mg

Generic
Ibuprofen  200 mg

# Tablets

Price

Price per Tablet

# Tablets

Price

Price

per Tablet

24

$3.99

$  .17

24

$3.59

$  .15

50

$5.99

$  .12

50

$4.99

$  .10

100

$9.29

$  .09

100

$7.39

$  .07

Note the marked profitability of selling a small number of a brand name medication. The cost of a single brand name Advil® 200 mg tablet was about 9 cents when purchased in a bottle of 100 tablets and nearly 17 cents when purchased in a bottle of 24. Volume purchasing decreases pharmaceutical cost. Most remarkably the cost of 1000 generic ibuprofen 200 mg tablets at Costco was just $9.29—less than one penny for each 200 mg tablet. Except for antibiotics most medications keep their potency for over one year.

Brand Name
Bayer  Aspirin  325 mg

Generic
Aspirin  325 mg

# Tablets

Price

Price per Tablet

# Tablets

Price

Price per Tablet

125

$6.29

$  .05

120

$2.69

$  .02

200

$9.79

$  .05

300

$4.49

$  .01

Millions of dollars are spent each year on brand name Bayer aspirin despite the medication losing its patent decades ago. The difference between purchasing brand name Bayer aspirin and generic aspirin at Eckerd is substantial. When purchased in a bottle of 200 tablets, a single 325 mg Bayer aspirin cost a little less than 5 cents whereas a single generic aspirin cost about 1.5 cents in a bottle of 300 tablets. When purchased at Costco pharmacy, a 500 tablet bottle of generic aspirin cost $3.99 or less than one penny for each 325 mg tablet. 

Brand Name

Zantac®  75 mg

Generic

Ranitidine  75 mg

# Tablets

Price

Price per Tablet

# Tablets

Price

Price per Tablet

20

$8.79

$  .44

20

$6.69

$  .33

N/A

N/A

N/A

40

$13.69

$  .34

80

$21.79

$  .27

80

$16.69

$  .20

The savings are even more dramatic for Zantac® . At Eckerd a 75 mg tablet of Zantac® cost about 44 cents per tablet when purchased in a bottle of 20 and about 27 cents per tablet when purchased in a bottle of 80 tablets. Generic ranitidine costs about 21 cents per tablet when purchased in a bottle of 80 tablets. When purchased at Costco, a 240 tablet bottle of generic ranitidine cost $5.35 or less than two cents for each 75 mg tablet. Volume purchasing of pharmaceuticals saves money.

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