An Australian woman has sparked a conversation about drug prices in the US compared to other countries after looking up the cost of her ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) medication.
On Wednesday, Bri, who goes by the username @esorirb on TikTok, uploaded a video in which she expressed her shock at learning what the cost of her medication could be in the US, after explaining that it costs her $29 each month in Australia for a month’s prescription.
According to Bri, she researched the cost of the medication in the country after receiving many comments from followers living in the US who claimed that the drug was created just so that pharmaceutical companies could make a profit.
“Oh my god. I just looked up the price of Vyvanse, like my ADHD medication, in the US, because I keep getting these comments that are like: ‘You don’t have ADHD, they just made this medication and then they made up the diagnosis so that they could sell it,’” Bri explained. “And I was like: ‘Why the f*** would they do that?’ It costs me $29 USD for a month’s supply of Vyvanse.
“Like, that’s not a lot of money they’re getting out of me,” the 22-year-old continued, before adding: “Apparently that’s not what it costs in the US.”
According to prescription company GoodRx, the cost of Vyvanse without insurance in the US at a pharmacy such as CVS is $359, while purchasing the prescription at Walgreens can cost $355. However, the website notes that the average “cash price” for a month’s prescription without insurance is $411.54.
The cost of the prescription can be lower for individuals with insurance, with some plans just requiring a copay paid each month.
The price discrepancy prompted Bri to inform her US-based followers that they are getting “ripped off,” with the TikTok user continuing: “Your healthcare system … Jesus. Like, I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know it was that bad.
“I didn’t know it was that bad.”
Bri captioned the clip, which has since been viewed more than 1.3m times: “Damn, praying for you all. Your government swerved past universal healthcare and said: ‘nah protect pharma monopoly rights.’”
In response to the video, many viewers have shared their own experiences trying to cover the exorbitant costs of the ADHD prescription, with one person writing: “My doctor prescribed it and we went to the pharmacy and it was $500 WITH insurance AND a coupon.”
Another commented: “My insurance won’t cover it … $450 a month.”
“I used to buy my Vyvanse instead of groceries in college because I couldn’t get through classes without it,” someone else said.
Others used the video to highlight the other high costs of healthcare in the US, with some viewers pointing out the prices of insulin, while TikTok users also shared bills they’ve received from ER visits for thousands of dollars.
“America isn’t a country, it’s a business,” another viewer stated.
However, the comment section also prompted some viewers to share helpful information for those living in the US struggling to afford prescribed medication such as Vyvanse, with one person explaining that the drug manufacturer’s website often has a coupon that can be applied to lower the cost of the medication.
On the Vyvanse website, there is a section dedicated to “savings”, where individuals can sign up for a savings card, with the site noting: “Eligible patients may pay as little as $30 per prescription for a maximum savings of $60 each time you fill your prescription.”
In response to the outpouring of reactions and comments to her video, Bri thanked those who had shared their experiences and highlighted the issues with the US healthcare system, explaining that they had left her “floored”.
“I am floored. These comments break my heart. Thank you for sharing your stories. I honestly didn’t realise just how bad ‘that bad’ was until now,” she wrote.
In a follow-up video, Bri again applauded those who left comments, acknowledging that it had been “so eye-opening” and “so important” and that these conversations ultimately help educate those from countries with universal healthcare as well as those living in the US.
“I genuinely don’t think that people like myself, who come from countries with universal healthcare, actually understand. I don’t think we can actually conceptualise just how bad it is,” she said.