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Local pharmacies, once widespread in large cities and rural communities alike, are disappearing from many areas of the country, leaving an estimated 41 million Americans in what are known as drugstore deserts, without easy access to pharmacies, reports the Washington Post. Rising prices and increasing hurdles to brick and mortar pharmacy access have millions of Americans wisely turning to personal prescription importation.

An analysis by GoodRx, an online drug price comparison tool, found that 12% of Americans have to drive more than 15 minutes to reach the closest pharmacy or don’t have enough pharmacies nearby to meet demand.

What’s more, an estimated 18 million Americans were unable to pay for at least one prescription for their households in 2021 due to rising costs. CPPI analysis shows that U.S. retail prices on top-selling name brand prescription drugs have increased by an average $165 from 2020 to 2021. For example, a 90 day Spiriva inhaler prescription, ​​used to improve breathing in people with respiratory conditions such as asthma and COPD, increased $444 in U.S. retail price from $1,309.90 in December 2020 to $1,754.09 in September 2021. U.S. coupon prices for Spiriva rose $97 from $1,306.05 to $1,403.36 during the same period.

Comparatively, average prices for top name brand prescription drugs at online Canadian pharmacies have dropped in price by an average of $1 (U.S. currency) between December 2020 and September 2021. The same 90 day Spiriva inhaler prescription averaged $283.92 in December 2020 and $287.09 in September 2021 at online Canadian pharmacies. The analysis by the Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation (CPPI) compared prices at leading U.S. pharmacy competitors including GoodRx, AmazonPharmacy, CVS, and Walgreens against online Canadian pharmacies.

To save money and ensure delivery directly to their door, millions of well-informed Americans are turning to prescription importation. Americans importing prescription drugs from online Canadian pharmacies save an average of $228 a month ($2,736 a year) on medication from online Canadian pharmacies.

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