Friday, June 25, 2010

The Very Expensive World of IVF Meds

So after finding out that I had to pay almost $4K out of pocket for fertility and all other meds for this next IVF cycle, I spent all of yesterday afternoon calling around other online pharmacies that provide cash discounts on fertility drugs. I called the following companies to compare Follis.tim, Meno.pur, Ganire.lix and HCG:
  The Apothecary Shop
  CVS/Caremark Specialty
  Freedom Drug
  (Formerly) IVP Care - now Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy
  (Formerly) Schaft's - now Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy
  Fairview Specialty Pharmacy
  Triessent Pharmacy (covered by my insurance)
  Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy
  Ascend Specialty Pharmacy (I tried calling but no one answered)

After calling each of these pharmacies, and putting them all into a spreadsheet, I noticed the following.
  • Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy has bought over some of the other (smaller?) pharmacies.
  • Prices of drugs have gone up since the last time I checked in January/February, around 5%.
  • Some companies allow a "discounted" price if you pay a $10 annual fee for Meno.pur (Walgreens and The Apothecary Shop does this); or if you register for the free program, but would need to provide your email address (Walgreens and Fairview), you could get a better price for Follis.tim.
  • I was told that some companies are "preferred" distributors for certain drugs, and therefore can get a cheaper of one drug name, but not the other of a similar drug.  For example, Freedom charges a lot for Follis.tim - $427 for a 300IU cartridge, but only $260 for the same unit of Go.nal-F because they are a "preferred" distributor for Go.nal-F, but not of Follis.tim.  These 2 brands are pretty much the same drug, just different brand name.  Some companies will provide cheaper prices for Follis.tim, other for Go.nal-F.
  • Of the companies looked at, Freedom Drug was the most expensive
  • The Apothecary Shop was the cheapest.
  • Comparing everything, Walgreens is pretty comparable to The Apothecary Shop, with prices being only pennies to a couple of dollars difference (with the exception of the HCG, about $12 difference).
After my last post about having to pay out of pocket for almost all of my drugs this next cycle, I had a couple of ladies offer to donate to me their unused Meno.pur vials, since they are now pregnant.  Yay for them!  And yay for me!  It's not much, just a couple of vials, but still, it is very generous of them.  Thank you ladies, you know who you are.  If you don't already know this, there is a wonderful group of supportive women out there!!  I'm hoping that one day, I too will have some leftover meds that I no longer need, because I would be pregnant (praying and keeping my fingers crossed!)

One of the gals also mentioned buying IVF meds from Canadian online companies.  Their drugs are much cheaper.  Have any of you bought your IVF drugs from an Canadian or European online pharmacy?

I looked at www.canadadrugs.com, but it takes 12 days to ship, with maybe 3-4 days shorter if I go with expedited shipping.  I'm don't think I can get them in time for stim start day of July 2nd, which is next week.

Just looking at canadadrugs.com, only Menopur is cheaper in Canada than what I can get here.

It's insane how expensive IVF meds are!

31 comments:

  1. Good for you for shopping around. We used Ascend and they will bend over backwards to get your meds to you when you need them, but I don't know how thier prices compare to others. Prescription drug costs are criminal, particularly for IVF meds.

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  2. I found Alexanders Twin Pharmacy was the cheapest option for me. I called three to four as well. Got to love paying out of pocket for this stuff, huh? :(

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  3. I have some unused gonal F. It would be happy to find a new home. Email me if you need it from my blog.

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  4. Check out this place in Canada, many Canadian girls shop here because it is so much cheaper for us!!!


    www.glenshieldspharmacy.com

    Not sure if they ship to the states or not...

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  5. Medication is definitely way expensive! You would think with all the other costs we have to endure that the meds wouldn't cost so much?!? I mean honestly...what are they made with? Holy water?!?! Best of luck on this IVF cycle!

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  6. Wow - that's a lot of research. I am amazed at drug prices in the US!

    ICLW
    http://daega99-arewethereyet.blogspot.com/

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  7. I know what you mean about the prices. They're crazy expensive. Did you try the online shop: ivfmeds.com?

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  8. wow, this is awesome information. Thank you for researching. I am going to hang on to this post as our new insurance (come Jan.) sucks and only gives me a annual max of $3,000 for meds a year, which I will hit right away. That is so amazing that you got donations of meds. This community continues to amaze me every day.

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  9. Check out this article I wrote. Towards the very end I wrote about how some of the pharmaceutical companies give away free meds. Sometimes the offers change but it's worth a shot if you have to pay out of pocket.

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2800964/how_to_save_money_on_infertility_treatments_pg4.html?cat=52

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  10. Thanks for the research. I was surprised about Freedom. I get my ovidrel from them and it was 45$ compared to $79 at Walgreens. Crazy. If I get there I will definitely have to check around.

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  11. Ugh. I pay out of pocket, too...even though I'm in Canada and there may be cheaper options out there, I'm not sure how my RE would feel about us buying from outside his clinic - he's waiving monitoring fees, so the only way he's making any money is through the meds we're buying, I think...Good for you for seeking bargains!
    Love,
    Maddy

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  12. We used Mandell's Pharmacy in NJ.
    http://www.mandellsclinicalpharmacy.com/index.html

    The prices were pretty good, I thought. Of course, I never got to use the $1800 worth of drugs I bought. After 2 years of trying, PCOS, and testicular cancer with around 1 million sperm, I finally gave in and we were going to start ART. DH's sperm count had increased DRAMATICALLY with Vitamin supplements and they told us IUI was a possibility. We conceived NATURALLY mere days before I was supposed to start the drugs I bought. Come September (when baby girl is due) I will be looking for a good home for those drugs.

    Best wishes to you on your journey.

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  13. On our first cycle, we paid all out of pocket and used IVP/Walgreens because I also priced the main ones and they were cheapest. Thought we were going to have to do that with our last round, but apparently my insurance covered some things this time (didn't have it with Matthew)...Shady Grove uses this pharmacy http://www.essexrx.com/ and I LOVE them...you'd have to price them as well because as you've found, some companies have contracts and it would depend on your protocol as to what you'd need, but one thing I LOVE about them is that if you have unused meds, they'll buy them back at 90% of what you paid--which could have saved us $600 with our first cycle and instead we just ended up donating back to our clinic (which I gladly did, but would have preferred to get the $$$!)

    Don't know what your protocol will be but I also have some meds we were going to donate to our clinic if you are interested...glad to help!
    xoxo

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  14. This community is amazing when it comes to sharing fertility drugs. (out of context that sounds bad) When I was worried about not getting on progesterone right away, I had three different offers of pio or suppositories. It was truly amazing.

    I hope you are able to find the best situation to get your meds.

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  15. Chinese hamster ovaries. One of the commenters rhetorically asked what these drugs are made of? Really. Chinese hamster ovarian cells. Isn't that funny? :)

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  16. Ugh. I had to pay out of pocket for Gonal f last cycle. It is great that you found ladies that donated stuff! Hope you get that sticky BFP soon!

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  17. not sure how and where to post im getting ready for round 2 of my ivf im self pay and short on meds my 1st ivf failed and this is my last try out of funds i would appreciate it heres my email hotkirby2@yahoo.com thank you

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  18. try calling MDR Pharmact they are a worldwide infertilty pharmacy and the best thing other than their wonderful costumer service is that match prices. So if you see a medciation cheaper somewhere else they will match there price, no questions asked....Plus they have AMAZING costumer service. Hope this helps

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  24. Is anyone still active on this blog. My husband and I are trying to start yet another round of IVF and are once again paying everything out of pocket. It tool us over a year to get to this point again, and could really use some help with any left over medications people may have. We are in need of Gonal F and ganirelix.

    Any leads would be awesome.

    Thanks,

    Jan

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