Frugal Fail: Non-generic Loratadine


Non-Generic Loratadine is 11X as much

Why does Claritin cost so much?  The battle over generic vs. non-generic medicines has been going on for years.  However,  there is a pretty good consensus that as long as the medicines are chemically identical or at least within a FDA acceptable bioequivalent range, there is no medical reason not to go with the generic.

Brand loyalty and quality or safety concerns of course can override the science.  For this reason as an example, some people would still prefer to get Advil instead of generic Costco brand Ibuprofen even if they have to pay a premium.  But the premium for this “peace of mind” is typically priced around 2 or 3 times the price.  In this example, 360 Advil 200MG tablets at $0.046 each vs. 500 Kirkland 200MG tablets at $0.018 each.  Since we believe in spending money where it matters and saving where it doesn’t, we would probably save the $9 and get the Kirkland brand.  However, even if you didn’t the premium for the name brand is “only” 2.5X.

Claritin’s pricing over generics however is anything but typical.  With Clartin 10MG tablets in a 90 pack you are going to pay $0.388 for each tablet vs. the 360 tablet Costco Kirkland brand price of $0.035 per tablet.  This equates to an insultingly high 11X premium to go with the non-generic.  Since Costco is able to produce, package, ship and sell the tablets at $0.035 each and still make a profit (probably about 0.01 per tablet), paying more for Claritin means you are simply generously giving them $0.363 profit per pill (assuming the same costs to serve).  That’s just nuts.

Our recommendation, stick with the generics… especially for Loratadine.

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