Four Main Types of Drugs Cost Analysis


The modern world has become a benchmark for medical science, as most patients today receive timely and effective therapy. This is mainly due to the improvement of pharmaceutical technology for both prescription and non-prescription drugs. At the same time, there is unprecedented competition in pharmacy chains — the same active substance can be sold under the guise of ten or twenty forms. This is not surprising, as the packages of the original drug are adjacent to generics, which are often more profitable for the buyer. This essay aims to find and analyze the cost of four types of drugs — prescription originals and generics, and over-the-counter originals, and generics.

Brief Description

First of all, it should be said that when a manufacturer invents a new scheme of a drug, it is long researched and tested, and only then a patent is granted. At the same time, the patent law is not infinite — at the time of expiration, competitor companies start producing such drugs, generics. The advantage of the latter is the cost of the drug because before patenting a new drug, manufacturers of original forms spend much money on its development and testing, which is reflected in the final cost (Wagener, 2019). However, the procedure for registering generics is much simpler and faster.


Medicines with a wide popularity factor among consumers were preliminarily selected for the comparative table. Thus, the choice fell on prescription drugs Glucophage XR and its generic Metformin, which are used to reduce sugar levels in type 2 diabetes. Next, Mapap and its generic Acetaminophen, which are used to relieve pain syndrome of various genesis, were chosen from the category of over-the-counter drugs. For the validity of the data described, the study was conducted in pharmacies located in the area of Miami, Florida. Four pharmacies from different categories were selected:

  1. Walgreens — large chain pharmacies — 1699 NW 7th St, Miami, FL 33125;
  2. Kroger — grocery store associate pharmacies — 8000 W Broward Blvd, Plantation, FL 33388;
  3. VH Pharmacy — privately owned local pharmacy —1000 SW 1st St, Miami, FL 33130;
  4. Walmart — pharmacy associated with a “big box” store — 6991 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33144.

Prices for medicines were found using a universal search and comparison service (Glucophage XR, n.d.). The examination of the data presented in the table below allows making two exciting conclusions. First of all, there is a tendency that large pharmacy chains sell goods at higher prices than competitors. Therefore, Latham (2019) recommends that customers pay attention to drug sections in supermarkets or small private pharmacies as this will save money. Second, the cost of generics, as expected, is lower than the cost of the original drugs, which is associated with the process of drug production.

Drug Type Walgreens Kroger VH Pharmacy Walmart
Glucophage XR (O) tablet/500mg/60pcs $81.00 $76.00 $69.99 $88.00
Metformin (G) $30.00 $10.00 $23.99 $18.35
Mapap (O) tablet/500mg/30pcs $10.05 $2.99 $4.99 $4.11
Acetaminophen (G) $16.00 $3.00 $8.00 $5.00

Table 1. Comparison of the cost of brand drugs and generics in different pharmacies (Glucophage XR, n.d.).


Summarizing the above, it should be noted that the modern world offers consumers a wide range of medicinal forms of the same active substance. Thus, a painkiller can be presented in dozens of different types, suitable for customers’ wishes and financial expectations. Expensive and high-quality original medicines have been replaced by generics that are not inferior to the brand in quality, but much lower in cost. The lower price for generic medicines is associated with a simplified manufacturing process that does not require a patent right. In this paper, two categories of drugs were compared — prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs. Furthermore, in each category, the original drug and the generic were compared. Thus, the study concluded that generics have a lower price, and the cheapest way to buy a drug is in special departments in supermarkets or private networks.


Glucophage XR. (n.d.). GoodRX. Web.

Latham, S. (2019). The cheapest pharmacy: Walmart vs. Walgreens vs. CVS and more. Cheapism. Web.

Wagener, D. (2019). What’s the difference between a brand-name drug and a generic drug. GoodRX. Web.

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NursingBird. 2022. "Four Main Types of Drugs Cost Analysis." January 6, 2022.

1. NursingBird. "Four Main Types of Drugs Cost Analysis." January 6, 2022.


NursingBird. "Four Main Types of Drugs Cost Analysis." January 6, 2022.