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Is There a Pink Tax on Medication For Women?

August 12, 2020

high drug prices

From consumer products to medication, products that are marketed specifically to women are often more expensive than comparable products on the market. This is referred to as the “pink tax.” While it’s not necessarily a literal tax (although it can be in some cases), gendered pricing differences can cost female consumers over $1,000 per year according to studies.

According to one theoretical pink tax calculator, a 45 year old American woman has lost over $60,000 just to the pink tax over the course of her lifetime. For a 65-year-old woman, pink tax losses are almost $90,000. To make matters worse, many women are unaware of the fact that they’re being charged more for the same products, on top of so many of the additional factors that already make life more expensive for American women.

Asking women to pay more for everyday items like shampoo, razors, body wash, and feminine hygiene products like tampons is bad enough, however the problem becomes exponentially worse when the sky high costs of prescription drugs in the United States are also factored in.

How Does the Pink Tax Affect the Cost of Medication for Women in the United States?

Unfortunately, consumer, cosmetic, and common household products aren’t the only areas where women are subjected to inflated pricing. Medication, for which Americans already pay more than virtually anyone else in the world, is not immune to the insidious pink tax.

Studies have found that even medications can be subject to uneven and unfair pricing variations that disproportionately cost women more money. According to research published in the JAMA Dermatology journal, women can pay as much as 40% more for Rogaine (minoxidil), which is sold over the counter in U.S. pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart, Kroger, and Target.

However, the cost of a particular medication is just one factor in how much more money women end up spending on their health and wellbeing over their lifetimes. In the U.S., women also have to contend with insurance premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and indirect costs, like lost or diminished wages and professional advancement opportunities due to unpaid family leave and childcare obligations.

For women who are uninsured or have plans that lack full or adequate coverage, the pink tax is that much worse. Due to the private, for-profit nature of the U.S. healthcare system, people in general, and women in particular, end up paying much more for the services and medication they need (assuming they can afford them at all).

The Cost of Women’s Health

From reproductive health issues and concerns including birth control, fertility, and menopause to chronic health problems like heart disease and cancer, getting and staying healthy can be very expensive for American women.

Women face unique health issues and concerns throughout their lives, and the medication required to manage them and stay healthy can be an additional manifestation of the pink tax.

Hormonal birth control

Despite the fact hormonal birth control pills have been in use for over 60 years and are one of the safest and most effective forms of birth control available, American women still have to jump through a number of inconvenient (and expensive) hoops in order to obtain a monthly prescription. Women in most states in the U.S. have to see a doctor in order to get a prescription, while women in countries like Russia, China, India, Mexico, and Turkey don’t have to.

In addition to adding several barriers to access for a safe and commonly used medication, it also adds hundreds, and in many cases, thousands of dollars to women’s healthcare costs. Along with the co-pay most American insurance plans charge for each doctor’s visit, (the average co-pay amount ranges from $30-$65 or more depending on the plan), women still have to pay a monthly fee for their birth control prescription — even with prescription drug coverage.

The cost to fill a birth control prescription can be as much as $50 per month depending on insurance coverage and the pharmacy where the prescription is filled.

Reproductive health and birth control are just one factor in women’s health and medication needs.

Heart disease and cardiovascular health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Chronic health problems and cardiovascular disease risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol require taking prescription medications for years, compounding the cost of healthcare that is already too expensive for millions of Americans.

To make matters worse, many people have to take more than one type of prescription heart medication to manage their blood pressure, cholesterol, and other heart cardiovascular markers to prevent heart attack and stroke.

There are many different classes of prescription heart medications, some of the most common of which are beta blockers to manage high blood pressure, and statins to manage high cholesterol.

Even modest pricing differences between American and Canadian pharmacies can add up to significant savings when someone is taking a prescription for months or years. This is especially the case for American women, who are already paying more for basic necessities as well as some medications. Saving money by ordering prescriptions from a Canadian pharmacy is one way to make up for some of the financial losses associated with the pink tax.

Mental Health

According to the Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than one in five American women suffer from a mental health issue like anxiety or depression. In fact, women can be more prone to serious mental health issues like bipolar disorder and depression than men.

Along with standard mental health issues, many women also disproportionately act as caregivers for children, aging or sick parents, and other family members, increasing the risk of stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental and physical health problems.

According to recent mental health statistics, over 20% of American women in their 40s and 50s take antidepressant medication. In general, women were found to be two and a half times more likely to take prescription antidepressant medication than men.

While biology and nature account for many of the health and medication needs between men and women, discriminatory economic and systemic factors may tip the scales in a way that can cost American women tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime.

How Ordering from a Canadian Online Pharmacy Can Save Women Money

As prescription drug prices continue to soar out of control in the United States, pharmacies in Canada are becoming more and more of a lifeline for Americans who either can’t afford or just want to save money on their medications.

The differences between the American and Canadian healthcare systems are varied and complex, but there are a number of fundamental differences that make Canadian pharmacies a safe, inexpensive, and reliable place for Americans to fill their prescriptions.

Lower prices

The list of excuses the pharmaceutical industry uses to justify price gouging American consumers is endless. Due to vast marketing and lobbying efforts over the years, many people have come to believe that they’re paying fair (although increasingly unaffordable) market prices for medications in the U.S. There are many myths and misconceptions about the prescription drug market in Canada, specifically why the same medications cost so much less than they do in the United States.

The truth is that it has nothing to do with quality and everything to do with what the pharmaceutical companies are allowed to get away with in each country. Simply put, pharmaceutical companies sell prescription drugs for much higher prices in the United States because they can. In the absence of any government regulation, oversight, or price controls, they’re free to literally charge as much as they want for anything from common maintenance drugs to lifesaving prescriptions.

By contrast, if the same companies want to sell the same prescriptions in Canada, they have to agree to the terms and conditions, including price controls, negotiated and enforced by the Canadian government. This is why American men and women are finding that they can save hundreds and in many cases thousands of dollars on their medication through an online Canadian pharmacy.

Less market incentives for a pink tax on medications in Canada

Corporate profit margins are one of the main driving forces behind unfair practices, like the pink tax. When making as much money as possible is the main objective, tactics like charging women more for the same products by decorating them in pink and gendered packaging is just a matter of business as usual. Factors like public safety, fairness, the economic impact on individual consumers and local economies may not be the priority in all corporate boardrooms.

In Canada, medications aren’t viewed or treated solely as commodities whose only purpose is to drive corporate profits and make money for shareholders. This leads to a fair pricing model for everyone and reduces the incentive and opportunity to discriminate against female consumers in order to make more money.

Less corporatization of pharmacy and profiteering

Many online Canadian pharmacies (and international ones) exist for one reason: to provide lower costs medication to those who need it. Like the rest of the healthcare system, American pharmacies have been increasingly corporatized and seem to operate more like Starbucks than a healthcare entities, which appears to have negatively impacted the service and safety at these pharmacies. Different pharmacies in the same chain also charge different prices, which can add onto the already bloated price tag for most medications.

By ordering from a certified international or Canadian pharmacy online, American women can save money on their prescriptions, and avoid much of the cost, stress and pressure that comes with shopping at corporate pharmacies at home.

Convenience

Life is already stressful enough, especially in the current environment. International and online Canadian pharmacies provide a level of safety and convenience and help remove many of the barriers that busy women deal with on a regular basis, even for something as basic and essential as filling and picking up a prescription.

Buying from a certified Canadian pharmacy or international one offers exceptional customer service, courtesy, and professionalism, along with the cost savings and the convenience of shopping for prescriptions in the comfort of your own home.

Skip the Pink Tax at a Certified Online Pharmacy in Canada

Ordering your prescription drugs from a certified online Canadian pharmacy and international drugstore can save you time and money. For more information, contact our customer service department today by calling our toll free number at 1-866-539-5330, or send us an email to learn more.

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