How to save hundreds of dollars on Zofran (and possibly other prescription drugs)



cost zofran

How to lower your zofran cost

How I got a $600 Zofran (ondansetron) prescription for $10

I mentioned earlier that my wife recently had surgery. During her recovery she was prescribed several medications which were hard on her stomach and caused severe nausea. In fact, she couldn’t even keep down the anti-nausea medication which eventually resulted in a trip to the emergency room a couple nights after the surgery.

They gave her a prescription for another anti-nausea medication called Zofran. This little pill works wonders and solved her nausea problems. The only problem came when we ran out of the Zofran the hospital gave us and we had to fill the prescription. To our dismay, we found out it was going to cost almost $600 for 30 pills. Actually it would have only cost about $250 because our insurance would only cover 13 pills. And that was for the generic version. I was absolutely blown away. Here we are absolutely reliant on Zofran to get through my wife’s recovery having just spent a significant amount on a surgery and subsequent emergency room visit. We got estimates from other main-stream pharmacies with similar results.

We actually learned later that Zofran is commonly used for chemotherapy patients and pregnant women to help with nausea. In fact I have two sisters-in-law that used it extensively during their pregnancies. And they paid through the nose as well.

Fortunately, we remembered that our surgeon had suggested a little old-school pharmacy by the hospital where they mix some drugs themselves. I’m not sure I’ll explain this correctly, but from what I understood they actually buy the raw drug (the generic name for Zofran is ondansetron) and make the pills themselves. This is different than buying the generic version because the generic version is purchased as a completed pill.

I figured I had nothing to lose so I ran over to their pharmacy and asked how much it would be. To my shock and pleasant surprise, they quoted me $10. I had to verify that it was correct and sure enough, it was a measly $10. I was blown away, and still am, that there could be such a price difference. I feel like I want to shout it from the rooftops to all chemotherapy patients, pregnant women, or otherwise nauseous people in the world. It felt like winning the lottery.

So my question to all GFD readers is, has anyone had a similar experience? Are there other expensive drugs that could be purchased inexpensively if mixed by the pharmacist? I plan on researching this further and will share the results.


Posted in Spending |

10 Comments to “How to save hundreds of dollars on Zofran (and possibly other prescription drugs)”

  1. Eva Says:

    Compounding pharmacies like the one that you found are also a boon to those of us with allergies. I’m allergic to corn, and most medications use corn as a filler/stablizer/sweetener (for liquids) which makes them off limits to me. I discovered that for many medications, I can have a compounding pharmacy make an alternative for me.

  2. Bob Says:

    That is illegal of the pharmacy to do that. A pharmacy cannot compound a commercially available medication (such as Zofran/ondansetron).

    If this was legal don’t you think every pharmacy would do it and not have to pay for the name-brand drugs? But, it’s not legal- in fact, the pharmacist can loose the licence and the pharmacy can be shut down.

  3. Foo Bar Says:

    If this was legal donít you think every pharmacy would do it and not have to pay for the name-brand drugs? But, itís not legal- in fact, the pharmacist can loose the licence and the pharmacy can be shut down.

    What makes you think that the laws in the author’s country are the same as the laws in your country.

  4. sjpeer Says:

    I called the pharmacy where I got the Zofran and they confirmed that they compound the ondansetron. They said they can’t compound drugs that are commercially available but in the case of the Zofran they add B6 or B12 (vitamin I assume) and apparently that combination isn’t commercially available. I have a hard time believing they are operating illegally when they were so open to talking to me about it. Does anyone else know about this law?

  5. Sam Says:

    Bob - it is not illegal (at least in the US, Canada, and the EU). As stated, you can not exactly copy currently available medications, but can do the compounding so long as a “change” is made.
    This is simply an example of information asymmetry where people get ripped off because, like you, they make assumptions w/out doing the research.
    S

  6. Mickie Says:

    You know what is illegal pills costing $250.00 for 6 pills when there is help available for these people. My mother has limited finances and has been suffering for over 2 years without being able to afford Zofran. I hope you live a long and healthy live because today without money and costly insurance old age is not a time that can enjoy your life.

  7. Bethany Says:

    Just wanted to say thx for this tip to us pregnant women! I was just perscribed Zofran for hypermesis and am in awe of the price! Instead of everyone making negative comments, I say thank you for sharing. I appreciate it.

  8. Compounding Pharmacy Says:

    “This is the greatest post I have come across so far.I am really pleased to post my comment on this blog .I love your blog by the way, I am gonna have to add you to my list of watched blogs .Thank you for this very useful information. stored it.Thanks again and keep up the good work.”

  9. AaronD Says:

    I realize this is an older post but it’s saved me hundreds of dollars. I was in the same situation and was able to use a compounding pharmacy to create the prescription. They were able to make it a sustained release version of the drug to get around the formula being the commercially available version. Which actually worked better. The savings on a single 30 day supply went from just over $180 for my co-pay down to about $22.
    Excellent post.

  10. Katrina S Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have been battling with CVS/Caremark to approve this medication - the only one that seems to work for my son’s nausea - which happens to be unrelated to chemotherapy.

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