Truest Choices for the Pharmacy Options

Tablets of Abbott LaboratoriesÕ cholesterol drug TriCor sit on display at New London Pharmacy in New York, U.S., on Monday, Sep. 28, 2009. Abbott LaboratoriesÕ purchase of Solvay SAÕs drug unit, for about 4.8 billion euros ($7.1billion), will increase the companyÕs pharmaceuticals revenue by 18 percent and give it a bigger presence in emerging markets. The deal suggests Abbott is confident about the prospects for TriCor and TriLipix, cholesterol drugs it co-promotes with Solvay. Photographer: JB Reed/Bloomberg News

Nobody needs to be convinced how expensive drugs are today. What is worse, their prices fluctuate very much depending on the pharmacy, and the differences at the level of several dozen percent do not surprise anyone who purchases more medications than just paracetamol or vitamin C. Price and price differences particularly affect people buying expensive drugs, dietary supplements or other products and elderly people who do not have the strength or ability to compare prices between pharmacies.

In the era of widespread internet commerce and looking for savings in this distribution channel, the development of online pharmacies has become natural. Although we will not buy prescription drugs there (except for personal collection at a pharmacy), other products are much cheaper there. Importantly, price comparison in online pharmacies is much simpler than in stationary pharmacies. Thanks to the development of e-commerce, competition on the pharmaceutical market has become much more intense – consumers, that is us, all benefit. You can shop now  from the pharmacy now.

However, as it turns out, also in the online pharmacy market differences in prices, available offer and quality of service are significant. Especially for you, we checked 1792 drug prices (64 products in 28 pharmacies) to find out where it is the cheapest. The differences in prices turned out to be significant.

Internet pharmacies examined

We took 28 online pharmacies operating on the Polish Internet for wallpapers. These are both the largest and most popular entities (DOZ, Gemini, Melissa, Cefarm24) as well as much smaller players in relation to the estimated number of monthly page views. Data on the site’s approximate popularity is from Similar Web and is not the same as market share.

Product basket examined

For the purposes of the study, we have created a basket consisting of 64 popular over-the-counter products that we commonly buy at the pharmacy. The list includes such items as e.g. Centrum Vitamin Set, Etopyrin, Apap, Stopperan, Smecta, Sudocream, Dicoflor, Linomag, Aviomarin, Durex condoms, Frotefix denture glue and many others. A detailed list of checked products can be found in the full results table (link below). Because we did not find all items in any pharmacy, we estimated the prices of missing products (marked in red in the full list) on the basis of the price level of other items available in the offer. Depending on the amount of the order, the price of the product basket must be added or the delivery is free of charge. For this reason, we suggest checking whether the offer of a given pharmacy is actually the best for us. It may be worth choosing a slightly more expensive offer, but with free delivery.

Drug availability

The level of drug availability varies widely between pharmacies. The largest were able to provide almost all the products sought, while in others, several dozen percent of the products were unavailable. A wide offer is needed especially for people looking for specialized preparations and can be an important issue when choosing an online pharmacy. You will read about the availability of medicines in the file with full data from this test.