Why is Vascepa So Expensive? (& How to Save Money)
Vascepa’s cost is sky-high, which makes it inaccessible to patients who need it to manage high triglycerides. So if your doctor has recommended that you take Vascepa, you’re likely in need of cost-saving strategies.
In this guide, we’ll review ways to reduce your Vascepa costs, provide Vascepa alternatives, and more.
Why is Vascepa So Expensive?
Vascepa is expensive because it’s patented, there are no generic equivalents, and its manufacturer is recouping its R&D (research and development) costs with high consumer-facing price tags.
That’s the one-sentence answer. We’ll go into a little more depth to ensure you have all the information you need to make good decisions for your health.
First things first: Why do patients seek out Vascepa in the first place?
What Does Vascepa Do?
Vascepa (icosapent) is a medication that can help lower high levels of blood triglycerides. Triglycerides, or – broadly speaking – fat in your blood, can be associated with a higher risk of heart issues. Lowering triglycerides can reduce this risk.
Some people can manage their triglycerides through lifestyle and dietary changes. Others can’t. This is okay! For some, high triglycerides are a genetic or otherwise extremely hard-to-change condition.
If you have a hard time managing your triglycerides, Vascepa can help.
Vascepa contains icosapent ethyl, or a pure form of omega-3 fatty acids. After taking Vascepa, patients should see lower triglyceride counts over time – usually after about four weeks of consistent treatment.
Treating high blood fat levels with fatty acids, as Vascepa does, might sound odd.
But it works: A large clinical trial testing Vascepa’s efficacy showed that the med helped patients achieve a 25% risk reduction of adverse, serious cardiovascular events.
How does it make this happen?
How Does Vascepa Work?
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for overall health. They’re a substance critical for maintaining optimal health. These fatty acids are often found in fish, seeds, and nuts.
These foods are often emphasized in triglyceride- and cholesterol-lowering diets. Vascepa allows you to leverage that great dietary benefit more easily.
The Difference Between Vascepa and Fish Oil
Prescription medications like Vascepa are highly regulated and backed up with years and years of clinical research. We know they help patients reduce their triglycerides because it’s been proven repeatedly that this is the case. Vascepa also provides very reliable, consistent results in clinical settings. Fish oil supplements are OTC products that aren’t very well regulated. The benefits are less established and tend to vary more from individual to individual.
Icosapent ethyl reduces liver production of triglycerides. It does so by stopping the activity of an enzyme critical for the last step in liver triglyceride production.
Icosapent ethyl also makes it easier for the body to break down already-existing levels of triglycerides in the blood.
This makes Vascepa an effective one-two punch for lowering triglyceride levels – reducing the body’s rate of making it and increasing how quickly we can get rid of it.
The result? Patients at risk of adverse cardiovascular events who take Vascepa regularly may experience a reduced risk of stroke, heart attack, and associated death.
That’s an incredible benefit. However, as with most effective medications, the benefit comes at a steep cost.
How Much Does Vascepa Cost?
Several factors play into Vascepa’s cost. These include the patient's insurance coverage, doctor-recommended dosage, and even where in America patients are purchasing their meds.
First, we’ll keep things simple and talk about Vascepa’s cost without insurance.
A 30-day supply of Vascepa, or 60 twice-daily 1g capsules, costs around $225.00 (about $3.75 per capsule) without insurance coverage. That’s at a low dose; if your doctor recommends a stronger dosage, your costs will be higher.
That’s a hefty price for a necessary prescription drug. (At that price, American patients will pay nearly $3,000.00 yearly to keep their triglycerides in check.)
If you want to save up to 30% on brand-name Vascepa, you can buy a two-month supply (120 capsules) through NorthWestPharmacy.com for around $315.00, or approximately $2.60 per capsule.
If you have insurance, you might think you don’t have to worry about finding lower-price prescription medication alternatives.
Insurance can help – but, unfortunately, not as much as you might think.
Does Insurance Cover Vascepa Costs?
Your insurance plan may cover Vascepa, but getting approval (or all of the funds you need) might be challenging.
Some plans may require prior authorization to cover the drug or impose restrictions and coverage limitations on American patients who need this expensive medication.
Your individual circumstances, such as your condition's severity and medical history, may also play a part in coverage decisions.
But that’s not the most significant factor.
Since Vascepa is a relatively new brand-name medication with lower-cost alternatives, many insurance plans may not cover it in the first place. Instead, your insurance company’s formulary (e.g., its list of covered prescription medications) may prioritize other treatments for high triglycerides.
It can be extremely frustrating to go to your insurance for Vascepa coverage and be told you need to take another drug to get the money you need.
That’s why we might recommend seeking ways outside of insurance to access and afford your prescription medication.
What Are Good Ways to Reduce Vascepa Costs?
Here are a few different routes to Vascepa cost reduction. These may be worth considering if your doctor has determined that Vascepa is a good choice for you and your care:
- Savings cards. Vascepa’s manufacturer has a Vascepa savings card program. If you are eligible, you may be able to obtain the Vascepa savings card. However, getting approved for this program can be very difficult, as the eligibility requirements are steep and limited funds are available. Your doctor can help you determine if this type of program is a good fit for you.
- Shopping around. Different pharmacies can offer discounts for medications. You may save if you check the prices for Vascepa at different locations. (For example, prices through the pharmacy at your grocery store may be lower than the prices at your boutique corner pharmacy.)
- Ordering your meds online. Mail-order pharmacies often offer more savings than their brick-and-mortar counterparts because they have fewer overhead costs (such as rent!) to pass on to their customers.
- Ordering your meds through an international drugstore. Interested in bringing a few of these strategies together in one maximum savings swoop? Check out what an international and Canadian drugs pharmacy can offer you. For example, at NorthWestPharmacy.com, we can provide reliably low prices on prescription meds since we can source our medications more freely than American pharmacies. And, with our transparent pricing and easy online navigation, you can price-match our meds from the comfort of your living room couch.
Is There a Vascepa Generic?
There is a Vascepa generic approved in the USA. However, it may not be widely commercially available or available to everyone who needs it.
They approved a version of a Vascepa generic produced by Hikma Pharmaceuticals in 2020. That sounds great – until you realize that the approval was only for a very limited use of generic Vascepa (only for people with incredibly high triglycerides).
And that approval didn’t pave the way for easy manufacturing of generic Vascepa by any means.
Shortly after Hikma’s announcement of approval in the USA, the company became embroiled in what some reporters termed a “possible fish oil war” between Hikma, the maker of Vascepa, and a few other interested parties. As a result, Hikma’s ability to produce generic Vascepa en masse is under significant question, even if it is technically approved.
The short answer? You may be able to find generic icosapent ethyl in some pharmacies, but it may not be available in a long-term, reliable supply. And we found that the generic version was priced very similarly to the brand medication (or even more, costing over $300.00 per month in some places), which is certainly not typical for a generic alternative.
Fortunately, generic icosapent ethyl is not the only Vascepa alternative available for you to consider.
Are There Vascepa Alternatives?
Yes, there are Vascepa alternatives available. They don’t leverage precisely the same active ingredient, but they may have similar cardioprotective or triglyceride-lowering benefits. You can discuss these with your doctor.
Here are some of the most popular Vascepa alternatives available through NorthWestPharmacy.com.
Lovaza (omega-3 acid ethyl esters) is a prescription medication that can lower high blood triglyceride levels. Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with reduced vascular inflammation and increased cardiovascular health. Taking Lovaza can help people with the risk of adverse cardiovascular events reduce their risk and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
How Much Does Lovaza Cost?
In America, a 30-day supply of Lovaza can cost around $240.00. That’s $8.00 per capsule.
Alternatively, through NorthWestPharmacy.com, you can buy a four-week's supply of brand-name Lovaza for approximately $66.00, or $2.35 per capsule (up to 70% in savings!).
Bezalip SR (bezafibrate sustained release) is a medication that can treat both high triglycerides and high blood cholesterol.
Bezafibrate works in much the same way as Vascepa: It slows the rate at which your body makes triglycerides and speeds up cholesterol breakdown. The two prescription medications achieve the same goal, just use different methods.
How Much Does Bezalip SR Cost?
American patients needing Bezalip SR often pay as much as $120.00 for a 30-day supply.
You can buy the same amount of brand-name Bezalip SR through NorthWestPharmacy.com for around $53.00 – up to 55% in savings.
Tricor Capsules (fenofibrate) can treat high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels for people at risk of adverse cardiac events. These capsules contain fenofibrate, slowing liver triglyceride production and speeding up fatty acid breakdown.
How Much Do Tricor Capsules Cost?
If you need to buy Tricor Capsules through an American pharmacy, you may pay as much as $250.00 for a 90-capsule supply.
Zetia (ezetimibe) also reduces high levels of blood cholesterol, but instead of honing in on liver cholesterol production, Zeta reduces the amount of cholesterol we absorb from the food we eat. Ezetimibe effectively reduces cholesterol absorption from food while it’s in the intestine.
How Much Does Zetia Cost?
American patients pay around $440.00 for a one-month supply of Zetia. That’s nearly $15.00 per pill!
To save up to 80%, you can buy brand-name Zetia through NorthWestPharmacy.com for around $3.00 per pill, or 28 pills for about $83.00.
Lopid (gemfibrozil) is a prescription medication that can reduce high triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
How Much Does Lopid Cost?
In America, Lopid generally costs around $317.00 for a 60-capsule supply or about $5.25 per capsule.
Instead, you can buy brand Lopid here, through NorthWestPharmacy.com, for around $1.00 per capsule, in a 100-capsule supply for $100.00 – up to 80% in savings.
Want to Make Vascepa Less Expensive?
American patients shouldn’t have to choose between financial security and the ability to fill a required prescription. Yet, when you’re looking at the high costs of the medication you or a loved one needs to stay healthy, it can feel like that’s the choice you have to make.
That’s why buying from an online Canadian drugstore or international pharmacy can be a game-changer. Here, we can provide reliably low prices on prescription medications – including Vascepa and each Vascepa alternative we’ve discussed in this guide.
Want to see for yourself how simple our processes are and how low your medication costs can be?
First, search our site to land on the Vascepa medication page, find the dose you need and click “add to cart.” Next, our site will guide you through the rest of the steps to check out through our secure, private online payment portal and upload your doctor’s prescription. Finally, we’ll ship your medication straight to your front door.
If you have any questions for our team or want to discuss your prescription with one of our pharmacists, call us at 1-866-539-5330. You can also place your order over the phone. And, if you’re interested, check out the customer reviews of our Canada pharmacy and international drugs site. We’re proud to have a 4.8/5 star rating across over 425,000 thousand verified customer reviews.
Whenever you’re ready to purchase Vascepa or any other prescription medications, just know that the team at NorthWestPharmacy.com is here to help!