Consumers Against High Drug Prices
Exposing The FDA's Regulatory Quagmire
CoQ10 Wars
Assembly Line Medicine
Collapsing Within Itself
Intolerable Delays!
"Unsustainable" Cancer Drug Prices
How Government Treated Those For Whom We Now Celebrate Holidays
Horrific Conditions Inside Drug Factories
When "Rules" Are Broken
Federal Death Panels
Science by Ambush
The Looming Doctor Shortage
Former FDA Commissioner Admits Risk of Bureaucratic Delay
FDA Says Walnuts Are Illegal Drugs
The FDA's Most Heinous Drug Approval
No Real Healthcare Cost Crisis
FDA Delay of One Drug Causes 82,000 Lost Life-Years
Deadly FDA Neglect
How Much More FDA Abuse Can Americans Tolerate?
Drug Company Pleads Guilty to Health Fraud
Why American Healthcare is Headed for Collapse
The Generic Drug Rip-off
Ending the Atrocities
Millions of Needless Deaths
Would You Tolerate This Abuse?
The FDA Indicts Itself
The FDA's Cruel Hoax
Fish Oil Now Available by Prescription!
FDA Threatens to Raid Cherry Orchards
Inside the FDA's Brain
FDA Fails to Protect Domestic Drug Supply
FDA Permits New Fish Oil Health Claim
FDA Approves Deadly Drugs, Delays Lifesaving Therapies
The $50.00 Toll Bridge
Dangerous Medicine
Cardiologists Overlook Lifesaving Discovery
What You Don’t Know About Blood Sugar
Jerry Falwell Attacks Life Extension Foundation
Life Extension Achieves "Impossible" Victory in the U.S. House of Representatives
Fighting the FDA
Patient Advocates Sue FDA Over Drug Access
FDA's Lethal Impediment
Don't Blame the Doctors
One Man's Ten-Year Ordeal With Prostate Cancer
A New Day At FDA?
The FDA Versus the American Consumer
Supreme Court Roundup
The Lethal Information Gap
Consumer Rape
Dying From Deficiency
Are Offshore Drugs Dangerous?
Drugs the FDA Says You Can't Have
Does Cholesterol Cause Artery Disease?
What's Wrong with the FDA
FDA Suffers Second Massive Legal Defeat in Pearson v. Shalala
FDA Loses Case Against Compounding Pharmacies on First Amendment Grounds
Ending The Cancer Bureaucracy
Victory in the House and Senate
Life Extension Wins in the House and Senate
Congress Recognizes The Prescription Drug Problem
Americans are getting Healthier... But the FDA Remains a Major Impediment
Are We to Become Serfs of the Drug Monopoly?
A Glorious Victory Over FDA Tyranny
The Great American Rip-Off
The Plague Of FDA Regulation
Health Costs to Double Is there a free-market solution?
The FDA versus Folic Acid
They Want You Brain Dead
Life Extension vs. the FDA a Hollow Victory: Why the Agency's Approval of Ribavirin is Inadequate

The Generic Drug Rip Off

By William Faloon

William Faloon 
William Faloon

I did everything I could including risking life in prison. Back in the 1980s-1990s, the Life Extension Foundation® crusaded to enlighten Americans about the economic ruination that would occur if this country's corrupt drug regulatory structure was not abolished. At the behest of pharmaceutical interests, the FDA brutally retaliated against us.

What I am about to divulge is a shocking revelation about why prescription drugs cost so much. Before I describe this pervasive fraud, I want to remind readers what happens when an apathetic public allows archaic government regulations to rule the marketplace.

The Economic Collapse of Argentina

In the 1940s, Argentina was the ninth wealthiest country in the world. At one point it was richer than France and boasted a higher standard of living than Canada. It was considered one of the best countries in which to live.1 

After an endless series of reckless governmental actions including uncontrolled borrowing and economic mismanagement, Argentina's standard of living ranking has plummeted to 46th.2 If you had money in an Argentinean bank in 1999, it vanished. If you owned Argentinean government bonds, you lost most of your principal as the central government defaulted on its obligations.

Other countries have faced worse problems, including the mass murder of their citizens in one form or another by the central government.

The reason I mention Argentina is that its economic collapse has similarities to what the United States is facing.

Misguided and corrupt government policies, combined with citizen apathy allowed financial ruination to happen in Argentina. We in the United States are not immune to the same calamity.

If what I expose in this article does not motivate citizens to take action, I don't know what will. It is beyond my comprehension that the common-sense free market solution I propose will be ignored by the American citizenry.

Health Care Costs Bankrupting United States

The Generic Drug Rip Off

Everything Life Extension® predicted about the health care cost crisis is happening before our eyes. Major corporations, individuals, and the government are being bankrupted by out-of-control medical costs. Some say the economic challenges facing the United States will result in substantially reduced standards of living. This does not have to happen.

As we long ago identified, the cause behind spiraling medical costs is a crooked and ludicrous regulatory structure.

Today's health care cost crisis is widely acknowledged and feared. No one, however, has yet proposed a practical solution to resolve it.

Even We Are Selling Overpriced Drugs

Three years ago, we established the Life Extension Pharmacy to provide members with unique health services and the lowest drug prices. Even though our prices are consistently at the rock bottom end of the marketplace, you still grossly overpay for generic drugs no matter where you buy them.

The reason for high-priced generics is not because the active ingredients are expensive. On the contrary, compared with complicated nutrient extracts, the ingredients in drugs are usually synthetic chemicals that cost only pennies a day.

The culprit behind overpriced generic drugs is an archaic regulatory environment that functions to protect pharmaceutical financial interests, forcing consumers to pay artificially inflated prices for their generic medications.

If our proposal to overhaul today's inefficient regulatory system succeeds, at least part of the health care cost crisis will disappear quickly. A side benefit to lower-priced generic drugs is that it will force pharmaceutical companies to bring out life-saving medications faster, since almost-as-good generics will cost virtually nothing.

An Example of a Grossly Inflated Generic Price

Once a brand drug comes off patent, generic equivalents emerge, but they cost far more than they need to because of FDA over-regulation.

Take the drug finasteride (Proscar®) for example. It came off patent in 2006, but at the end of 2008, chain pharmacies were charging about $90 for 30 tablets (a one-month supply). All it takes to make this drug is to put 5 mg of finasteride into a tablet that dissolves in the stomach. Vitamin companies do this every day with nutrients, but the FDA does not allow them to freely do the same thing with drugs.

An Example of a Grossly Inflated Generic Price

We checked on the cost of buying finasteride and making it into tablets. The free market price for 30 tablets is only $10.25, which includes an independent assay of the ingredient quality, potency, and tablet dissolution and a reasonable profit margin. It is against the law, however, for GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices)-certified vitamin manufacturers to offer low-cost generic drugs. This prohibition must be lifted as America can no longer afford to subsidize those who are politically connected while the country is driven into insolvency.

Finasteride is a drug that not only helps relieve benign prostate enlargement, but may also reduce the risk of prostate cancer.3-5 Widespread use could save Medicare lots of money in expensive prostate treatments. Those who follow Life Extension®'s other recommendations would be expected to reduce prostate cancer risk even more.

As evidence mounts about the prostate cancer risk reduction associated with drugs like finasteride, more companies are competing to make it, but its average price at chain pharmacies is around $86 a month a staggering eight times higher than what its free market price would be!

Please note that generic prices tend to wildly fluctuate. In this case, as more competitors entered the market, chain pharmacies did not substantially lower the price of finasteride. In some cases, the opposite occurs, and by the time you read this, the price could vary.

How the "Generic"ť Regulatory System Works

If a company wants to manufacture a generic drug, be it a prescription drug like finasteride or an over-the-counter (OTC) drug like ibuprofen, it must file an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) with the FDA, even if it is manufactured by others already. 

While the company does not have to perform clinical trials for an ANDA, it does have to show its bioequivalence to the original drug. For drugs that are difficult to synthesize, this requirement is important. For most drugs, however, the raw material can be purchased, often from the identical supplier that provides it for the branded drug.

To show bioequivalence, the company typically needs to perform human studies that take 1.5-2 years, unless a sufficient number have already been performed successfully, in which case it might be able to use those prior studies to support the ANDA. But the FDA could reject the ANDA and require the company to perform studies anyway.

The cost and time involved in the ANDA process varies, depending on the drug, its safety, how long it has been on the market, etc. 

To have an ANDA approved, it typically requires an investment of about $2 million, and it takes a total of two to three years to get the drug to market. 

To manufacture a common drug like ibuprofen (the active ingredient in Advil® and numerous other OTCs) might cost about $1 million and take 1.5 years, because the company would not have to do its own studies, and because it is a drug with a known safety profile. 

In addition to these costs, a company should budget 15% for legal fees, because wherever there is a big manufacturer with a sizable market share involved, they will sue, just to try to eliminate more competition from the market.

One's political connections with the FDA are critically important. Those who are not in the FDA's good graces might find it more difficult to get an ANDA approved. The company should have experience with this bureaucratic process to know when and how to object to unreasonable FDA requirements.    

So as you can see, what should be a straightforward process to manufacture drugs like finasteride instead turns into a bureaucratic quagmire that results in generic drugs costing far more than they need to. If a person was to take 5 mg finasteride tablets made by a vitamin manufacturer, all they would need to do to document its efficacy would be to test their blood levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Finasteride alleviates benign prostate enlargement symptoms by inhibiting the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT. Properly made finasteride will lower DHT.

Under a free market system, consumers would have the choice of paying $86 for a one-month supply of FDA-approved generic finasteride, or $10.25 for a one-month supply of generic finasteride made by a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices)-certified vitamin manufacturer.

Generic Drug Comparison Chart

Brand Name

Generic Name

Average Price at Chain Drugstores

Life Extension Pharmacy Price

Free Market Price



Finasteride 5 mg

$ 86

$ 38.27

$ 10.25



Simvastatin 20 mg

$ 27.99

$ 7.08

$ 3.20



Amlodipine 10 mg

$ 39.99

$ 6.21

$ 4.41



Divalproex 500 mg

$ 129.99

$ 53

$ 9.59



Metoprolol 50 mg

$ 12.99

$ 4.75

$ 2.21



Oxcarbazepine 300 mg

$ 109.99

$ 32.14

$ 15.50



Pravastatin 40 mg

$ 51.99

$ 8.28

$ 6.68



Ramipril 10 mg

$ 61.99

$ 15.99

$ 4.25



Lamotrigine 100 mg

$ 119.99

$ 9.84

$ 7.50



Gabapentin 400 mg

$ 54.99

$ 10.77

$ 5.85



Benazepril 20 mg

$ 31.99

$ 8.49

$ 4.40


Wellbutrin SR®

Bupropion 150 mg

$ 49.99

$ 28.25

$ 17.99



Nortriptyline 50 mg

$ 36.99

$ 8.10

$ 4.39



Zaleplon 10 mg

$ 61.99

$ 45.33

$ 12.43



Omeprazole 20 mg (Rx)

$ 25.99

$ 17.56

$ 12.70

The Free Market Prices listed on this chart are based on what an efficiently run pharmacy could sell these non-FDA-approved generics for. These prices would be lower if non-pharmacies were allowed to sell them. There are many expensive bureaucratic regulations that pharmacies have to adhere to, and the price of any drug you buy reflects the costs of complying with over-regulation of pharmacies, as well as over-regulation of generic drug manufacturing. The Free Market Prices on this chart would drop even further if large quantities of these non-FDA-approved generics were manufactured.

How Much Are You Overpaying?

Life Extension® investigators have spent an enormous amount of time identifying what it really costs to make a generic drug. The price of the active ingredient for most drugs is remarkably low. A greater expense involves GMP manufacturing and the kinds of quality control measures that we at Life Extension® mandate for the supplements that carry our label.

The chart on this page reveals the shocking numbers. Compared with what chain pharmacies are charging today, the free market prices are an astounding 51% to 94% lower!

On average, Americans are paying 837% more at chain pharmacies and 236% more at the Life Extension Pharmacy compared with what the free market price would be for the identical medications.

When looking at the ultra-low free market prices, it becomes evidently clear that there is no real prescription drug cost crisis. A month's supply of some of the most commonly used drugs could be obtained for the price of a box of cereal.

There never was a need for Congress to pass the thoroughly corrupt Medicare Prescription Drug Act that involves the massive expenditure of tax dollars to pay full retail prices for these hyper-inflated drugs.

The free market price of generics would be so low, in fact, that even those with medical insurance will save money on most drugs compared with what their co-pays are now.

If these free market medications became available, medical insurance premiums will be lowered, Medicare's day of insolvency postponed, and many businesses and consumers spared from bankruptcy. The chart above reveals how little free market generic drugs would cost.

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