Why is Estring (Estradiol) So Expensive?
high drug prices
The most common reason potential customers reach out to us is to determine if they can get the medications they need at a cheaper price than they’re currently paying. These questions typically come from Americans who are struggling under the weight of the healthcare crisis in the United States.
One medication that is frequently inquired about is Estring, or estradiol. Estring is a medication sometimes prescribed to people experiencing menopausal symptoms that make sex more painful.
As if going through menopause wasn’t frustrating enough, the exorbitant cost of hormone regulation and replacement therapy does nothing but make matters worse.
If you’re struggling to afford your Estring — or another hormone replacement therapy your doctor has prescribed for you — you’re not alone. NorthWestPharmacy.com helps people all over the world get their medications at a more affordable price every single day.
Here’s what Estring can do for menopausal people, why it’s still so expensive, and what you can do to save money on your prescription.
Why Estring (Estradiol) is So Expensive
In the United States, the cash price of one Estring device is about $550.00. Because it lasts for 90 days, the cost broken down monthly is about $184.00.
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, you can purchase Estring for only $108.00, making the monthly cost about $36.00.
This is not an anomaly for Estring, by any means.
It’s a well-known fact that Americans pay more than anyone else in the world for prescription medication. There are many factors that contribute to the insanely high cost Americans pay — some of them being shared across the entire industry, while others are specific to the individual drugs.
For example, medications that treat rare conditions are almost always more expensive than medications that treat common conditions. Fortunately for patients suffering from atrophic vaginitis, there are quite a few options.
Unfortunately, some of those options may not be ideal because of other existing health conditions.
Another important factor in the cost of prescription drugs is the actual mechanism, which may be subject to patent laws.
Benefits of Estring
One of the major benefits of Estring is that it doesn’t need to be used “in the moment.” The ring is left in the vaginal canal for up to 90 days, slowly releasing estradiol the entire time.
Having the medication released on its own allows for more spontaneity over when the patient can choose to be sexually active. Furthermore, it lets the person feel more control of this aspect of their body.
This is similar to how medications used to treat erectile dysfunction must be taken shortly before intercourse. It depends on the classification of the medicine, but the spontaneity factor is sometimes a cause for concern among patients.
Women are lucky in this regard — that they can use a product like Estring, which passively does its job without any additional intervention on her part.
Another benefit of Estring is that it’s a localized treatment. Many doctors caution against long-term estrogen therapy because of the risk factors. In fact, most physicians would say that estrogen therapy is not a long-term solution for menopausal symptoms (which can last for years).
One of the most dangerous concerns over high levels of estrogen is the increased risk of blood clots and stroke. Additionally, high estrogen levels can affect the thyroid, causing changes in weight and energy levels.
Because Estring is a localized treatment, less estrogen is entering the bloodstream (such as through a patch or gel on the skin). If someone is only experiencing vaginal dryness or thinning tissue, but no mood swings or hot flashes, Estring can help alleviate some of these negative effects.
The Convenient Design of Estring
Many estrogen-based hormone replacement drugs are topical — patches that stay on the skin for one month at a time (similar to a birth control patch), a gel that is rubbed onto the skin once per day, or even a tablet that dissolves inside the vaginal canal.
The major difference about Estring is that it’s inserted and then left alone.
Similar to the Nuvaring in how it works and its maintenance factor (in that there is none, aside from replacing it), a premium is charged for its convenience.
In short: you’re paying for the convenience, even if pharmaceutical companies aren’t using that language. You’re also paying for the patent – more on that below.
Between the convenience and the potential benefits of Estring, pharmaceutical companies can charge essentially whatever they want. Chances are that people who want it will pay for it — especially if they don’t feel like they have other options.
The Role of Patent Law
The downside to the convenience afforded by Estring is the role patent law plays in American drug prices.
Patent law in the U.S. is extraordinarily complicated. On a base level, patent law for pharmaceuticals typically starts at protecting the company that developed the drug in question for about 20 years.
Sometimes the period is shorter or longer, but the average is 20 years.
The purpose of patent law in this context makes sense. The company that has already sunk a significant sum of money into a drug is awarded a period of exclusivity for its efforts.
During the patent period, no other pharmaceutical company is allowed to develop a drug using the same formula. Other companies can work on drugs that treat the same symptoms or conditions, but not with the same active ingredient(s).
The concept of course, is simple — the pharmaceutical companies are able to get a bigger return on investment if there is no competition.
The complications occur when you get into specialized delivery mediums. If a company has developed a special mechanism to deliver the medication, they’ll have a patent on that design, as well.
And every time they modify or improve the design, they’re allowed to file for a new patent.
This practice is very common among inhalers used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Each time the inhaler design is improved, the developer can file (and is often approved) for a patent extension.
Patent extensions can take the initial period from 20 years to about 30. And once the patent period is finally over (it can’t last forever), other companies are allowed to start working on their own versions of the drug.
Oftentimes, these come in the form of generic drugs, which are typically much more affordable.
But alternatively, other companies may take the formula and design, make their own improvements, and file for a brand-name patent of their own.
And then of course, there’s the time it takes for these new drugs to be tested, approved, and put into production. It can take years past the patent period for a generic drug to be ready for market.
All of this is to say that Estring is in a similar situation. Estring was initially approved in the U.S. in 1996, which means the patent has been in place for more than 20 years.
As of now there’s still no generic version of Estring, and it’s difficult to tell when one will be available.
Without competition to drive the price down, it’s unlikely that Estring will be more affordable for Americans anytime soon.
How Does Estring Work?
Estring is a hormone supplement used to treat a condition called atrophic vaginitis — a common occurrence for women going through menopause. Also called vaginal atrophy and urogenital atrophy, symptoms can include painful sex, burning, itching, dryness, and painful urination.
Estring can alleviate menopausal symptoms related to painful sex. Specifically, with the lack of natural lubrication made when a woman is aroused and the thinning tissue in the vaginal wall.
While some hormone replacement therapy takes the form of pills or creams, Estring is a soft, pliable ring that is inserted into the vagina. It’s named for its main ingredient and its shape — estradiol ring.
Because it’s a localized treatment, menopausal patients who aren’t experiencing other symptoms (such as hot flashes or mood swings) don’t have to take unnecessary medication. Estring will not have the same broad effects as alternative hormonal treatment options.
Assuming that Estring is inserted and seated properly, it shouldn’t be noticeable for the patient in their everyday lives. It’s similar to how a properly placed tampon or menstrual cup can be easily forgotten.
Estradiol is released from the ring on a consistent basis over a period of 90 days, at which point a new ring would need to be placed. A doctor may place your first Estring in order to demonstrate placement, but once the patient is comfortable, she can do it herself at home.
What does Estradiol Do?
Estradiol is the strongest of the three types of naturally occurring forms of estrogen in the body. Every single person has some level of estrogen in their body (regardless of sex), but women have higher levels than men.
Estrogen plays a major role in women’s menstrual cycles. Estradiol is made in the ovaries, and therefore directly affects egg health and ovulation.
Estradiol aids in egg maturity and the eventual release of the egg for healthy ovulation. Additionally estradiol is what triggers the lining of the uterine wall to thicken in order to prepare for implantation of a fertilized egg.
As the body ages (regardless of sex), estradiol levels change in the body. For women, this change is significant when the body reaches menopause.
Again, estradiol is produced in the ovaries, which slow down during menopause. They make less and less of the hormone, which slows down egg maturation and release, causing menstruation to eventually stop.
The issue with this natural occurrence is that estradiol does more for the body than just helping eggs grow and release. Estradiol and other forms of estrogen regulate all kinds of functions within the body, including body temperature, sexual response, and mood.
As estradiol levels decrease in the body over time, many women experience vaginal dryness and thinning tissue in the vaginal wall, which can cause pain during intercourse.
Estring (especially given the localized treatment it provides) provides this critical hormone to alleviate this pain. Over time, Estring can help thicken the tissue of the vaginal wall.
How to Save Money on Estring (Estradiol)
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we fully recognize the tough position so many Americans are put in on a regular basis. Having to choose between a medication that can improve the quality of your life or choosing to pay a bill or fix their car. It’s the reason so many are looking to buy Canada’s drugs at a discount online.
Regardless of the medication you’re looking for, we’re certain we have a better price than what you’d pay at your local pharmacy. In fact, we’re so confident in that assertion that we offer a lowest price guarantee.
If you can find a lower price for the medication you need, let us know and we’ll beat it.
If you’ve never ordered medication through a Canadian online pharmacy or international drugstore before, it’s understandable to be a bit apprehensive. We’re dedicated to safety and accuracy because we know how important this matter is.
We adhere to rigorous safety standards, as set by two professional pharmacy associations: the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA) and the International Pharmacy Association of British Columbia (IPABC).
Every supplier we work with must also be certified by CIPA so that we can ensure safety and accuracy from start to finish. As a result, we’re proud to say that our safety record is outstanding.
You can always ask to speak to a pharmacist about your medication or your order. And our knowledgeable customer service representatives are available to you seven days a week. They can answer questions, find your medication for you, or even walk you through the ordering process.
If you’re ready to place an order or have questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-866-539-5330. You can always email us, too – we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
We look forward to saving you some money and providing you with the exceptional service we are renowned for!