How to Lower Symbicort Cost for COPD
Category: Prescription Related Questions
Posted on March 10, 2021
Vanessa is a health writer and blogging expert. Her specialities are medicine, health and wellness. She is proud to call Vancouver, BC her home where she enjoys the ocean and mountains with her dog Mr. ChowChow.
At least 16.4 million people in the US have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). That's only for diagnosed cases, so millions of others may have undiagnosed COPD.
Fortunately, although COPD is incurable, it's treatable. However, treating it cost US workers at least $5 billion a year from 2011 to 2015.
One reason for these exorbitant expenditures is the high cost of Symbicort. It's one of the most common prescription drugs used to treat COPD. It's so widely-prescribed that in 2020, its global product sales totaled $2.04 billion.
How much does Symbicort cost exactly, though, and why does it cost so much? Is there even anything you can do to minimize its burden on your finances?
We'll answer all these questions in this guide, so be sure to read on!
What Is Symbicort?
Symbicort contains budesonide, a corticosteroid or anti-inflammatory drug. It also contains formoterol, a long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) that relaxes the muscles. This combination then helps manage the signs and symptoms of COPD.
Symbicort received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration in 2009. That was after the FDA approved it for long-term asthma treatment in 2006. Studies have shown that this drug helps manage airflow obstruction in COPD patients.
In the US, Symbicort comes in the form of an inhaler. Its recommended dosage is twice a day; two puffs in the morning and another two puffs at night.
Symbicort is also available in 80/4.5 and 160/4.5 dosages. The first option contains 80 mcg of budesonide and 4.5 mcg of formoterol. The second has 160 mcg of budesonide and 4.5 mcg of formoterol.
Symbicort isn’t the only inhaler used to treat and manage COPD, but it’s one of the lowest-priced ones. A month’s supply of Advair, for instance, can cost almost $500 in retail pharmacies. A 30-day dose of Breo Ellipta, another common COPD inhaler, can also cost over $400.
How Much Does Symbicort Cost on Average?
On average, Symbicort costs about $250 per inhaler, which can last for about a month. With this kind of price, you'd spend around $3,000 within a year just for your COPD treatment. That's only if this branded drug's price doesn't go up, which is unlikely in the US.
Moreover, these costs can still rise depending on the pharmacy you buy from. For example, one pharmacy may only charge $235 for 120 doses of 80mcg/4.5mcg, while another may jack it up to $285.
Symbicort costs so much because the US doesn't regulate prescription drug prices. The country doesn't negotiate their prices, either. This means that drug makers are free to set whatever price they want for their products.
So, it's not only Symbicort; most other US medications are far pricier than in many other countries. For instance, Americans spend an average of $1,200 on prescription drugs each year. That's over $300 more than what the Swiss pay for.
Then, there's also neighboring Canada, long known for its awesome healthcare system. Granted, healthcare isn't really free in the Great White North. However, studies found that patented drugs here are, at the very least, 40% cheaper than in the US.
For starters, the Canadian Government has more involvement in drug pricing. It rejects medications with prices that seem to be exorbitant. These are some of the top reasons Canada's drug prices are lower than what US residents pay for.
What Can You Do to Lower Symbicort Costs Then?
Shopping online is one of the quickest ways to find cheap COPD treatment. So long as you buy medications from a reliable site online, you can save up hundreds if not thousands. These discounted prices apply to both types of Symbicort inhalers.
In any case, here's what you need to do to reap huge savings when buying Symbicort.
Purchase Symbicort Online
Buying from a licensed online pharmacy is the best way to save on your Symbicort needs. This way, you can purchase this branded COPD inhaler but still save hundreds of dollars a month. Within a year, you can save thousands if you buy Symbicort from a licensed online source.
For instance, the online price of 120 doses of Symbicort Inhaler 80mcg/4.5mcg can be as low as $86. That tallies to around $0.72 per unit, per month. Compared to the average US pharmacy cost of about $250, that's almost three times cheaper.
Since 120 doses usually last for a month, that means you'd only spend about $1,032 ($86 x 12 months) for an entire year. That's a staggering difference of almost $2,000 from Symbicort's typical pharmacy costs.
A prescription is mandatory to buy Symbicort from an online prescription delivery service. It's a legal requirement that's also for your own safety. If you find a site that doesn't require this, take that as a sign of a possible scam.
See if You Qualify for AstraZeneca's Patient Assistance Program
AstraZeneca is the pharmaceutical company behind Symbicort. It offers a patient assistance program for those who can't afford to buy its products.
If you qualify for AstraZeneca's "AZ&ME" program, you may be able to get Symbicort at no cost at all. The company will provide you access to this COPD treatment for free. However, the program comes with stringent eligibility requirements.
For starters, the AZ&ME program is only available to US residents. In addition, patients must not have prescription drug coverage (except Medicare). There's also a criterion for annual income, and going beyond this level means you won't qualify.
There are only a few exceptions in which you may still qualify even if you don't meet the above rules. For example, you may still become eligible if you've had a life-changing event within the last year. This can be a loss of a job, a reduction in income, or marriage.
Consider Generic Budesonide/Formoterol
On average, generic drug prices can be 80% to 85% lower than branded drugs. However, their formulations are the same as the branded versions. Meaning, they are just as effective as the more exorbitant branded-name drugs.
The primary reason for the lower cost of generic drugs is that they cost less to make. For starters, there's no longer a need to research and develop the drug formulation itself. The branded version has already established the formula's safety and efficacy.
As such, generic drug makers spend a lot less on manufacturing their products. For this reason, generics are far less expensive than the "original" branded drugs.
So, how much cheaper is generic budesonide/formoterol then? Well, if you buy your supply from a licensed, reputable source, it can cost as low as $34 for 120 doses of 80mcg/4.5mcg. That's about 2.5 times cheaper than the online price of the branded version!
By going with generic budesonide/formoterol, your yearly costs would only sum up to $408. That's over $600 less than what you'll otherwise pay for branded Symbicort sold online. That's also more than seven times cheaper than the typical US pharmacy rates.
Keep in mind that generic budesonide/formoterol still requires a valid doctor's prescription. So, be sure to talk to your doctor first if you want to make the switch. This way, your physician can issue the appropriate documentation.
Save Even More When You Buy in Bulk
Most countries, including the US and Canada, only allow consumers to buy medications for up to 90 days. Meaning, the most you can order in one go is a 90-day supply. With Symbicort (branded or generic), the maximum "supply" allowed by law is 360 doses.
One reason you'd want 360 doses in a single order is that it costs less than a 120-dose one. For example, 360 doses of the branded Symbicort Inhaler 80mcg/4.5mcg only costs about $180. By contrast, the 120-dose variant would cost you $258 over the course of three months.
So, going for the three months' worth of supply means you can save about $78. That's an additional $300 of savings for an entire year.
Generic budesonide/formoterol is also available in 360 doses. This one costs about $72, which can net you a savings of $30 within a span of three months.
Buying in bulk is also an effective way to minimize the risks of skipped doses. Keep in mind that missing COPD treatment can make your symptoms worse. It can even be life-threatening if missed for long periods.
Besides, most inhalers (including Symbicort) and other medications expire only after a year. Some drugs can even retain their 100% potency for up to four years. Either way, this means you don't have to worry about your COPD inhaler expiring before you can use it.
More Savings With Digital Coupons
The best online prescription delivery services offer discount coupons for even more savings. For starters, you'll find coupons for new customers, which can give you a discount of $10 to $20 from your first order.
On your next order, be sure to look for and use a Symbicort discount coupon. This can help you slash off at least $20 on your COPD inhaler.
Pay With Cash
Some insured drugs cost more than their uninsured counterparts. So, you might end up paying more if you're buying Symbicort through a policy.
As such, it's always a smart move to compare the uninsured vs. insured cost of your prescriptions. This way, you can see for yourself if paying for cash is the cheaper way to get your Symbicort supply.
Buy All Medications You Need in One Go
Studies found that two in three COPD patients also have a co-existing heart condition. Many people with COPD also have diabetes, depression, or both.
If you have other health issues alongside COPD, you're likely taking other medications. In this case, you might want to buy all your prescriptions online from the same source. Buying them together can help you save more since you only have to pay a fixed shipping rate.
Most reputable online prescription delivery services charge less than $10 for shipping. It's a fixed rate, so the total weight of the parcel won't matter. You can order up to three months' worth of supply for each of your prescription drugs.
Now, compare that to the transportation costs of going to your local pharmacy. Also, consider the time you need to spend going to a pharmacy, waiting in a long line, and then going back home. All that adds to your costs, expenses that you could otherwise avoid if you order your meds online.
Extra Perk of Buying Symbicort Online: Better Adherence
About a quarter of the US population takes at least three prescription drugs. More than one in 10 are even on five or more prescription medications!
Aside from common conditions that exist with COPD, you may be battling other health woes. Either way, all these other drugs (and their costs) are likely making it hard for you to adhere to each one of them. For instance, you may be skipping one of your twice-a-day COPD inhaler doses in the hopes of cutting costs.
However, failure to take Symbicort as instructed can make your condition progress. The same may occur if you skip the meds for your other health maladies.
Worse, not adhering to your prescriptions can put you at risk of even higher medical costs. For example, you may get hospitalized due to severe COPD symptoms. You may have to rush to the ER if you experience severe wheezing or breathing difficulty.
A licensed online prescription delivery service can help you reduce such risks. After all, the lower cost of their products won't force you to skip your doses anymore. So, by helping you adhere to your medications, they can also help you become healthier.
Breathe Easier With Lower-Cost Symbicort Inhalers
There you have it, your ultimate Symbicort cost and price guide. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to reduce your COPD treatment expenses. So long as you follow all the tips and tricks we've listed, you can be on your way to breathing easier and better.
Ready to learn more about high-quality online prescription delivery services? Then please know that our team here at PricePro Pharmacy can help! Get in touch with us now so we can help you get started in ordering your prescription drugs online.