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Thursday, Dec. 9, 2004, 11 a.m. EST Susan Herold, 202-462-6262 Over-the-Counter Drug as Likely to Relieve
Heartburn, Reflux as Prescriptions Costing $2,400 a Year
Prilosec OTC Chosen as Consumer Reports Best Buy Drug

(Washington, D.C.) – People who take prescription drugs for heartburn, ulcers or acid-reflux
disease could save more than $200 a month by considering over-the-counter Prilosec, the
Consumer Reports Best Buy Drug in the category know as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).
A Consumers Union comparison of PPIs released today indicates that nonprescription Prilosec
(omeprazole) is just as likely as prescription PPIs to relieve heartburn and ulcers, and
promote healing for most people with gastroesophageal reflux disease, at a savings of up to
$2,400 a year.

Prilosec OTC
costs about 79 cents a day, while prescription PPIs can range up to $8 a day. The
Consumers Union analysis found it as effective as the more expensive alternatives for most
“Some of the proton pump inhibitors are widely advertised and quite costly, and many doctors
believe they may be overused,” said Gail Shearer, director of health policy analysis for
Consumers Union.
“We urge people to check with their doctor to determine if they really need one of these
medicines, and to consider the non-prescription drug, particularly if they have no health insurance
or prescription drug coverage,” Shearer added.
The analysis recommends that people with drug coverage check to see if their insurer provides a
discount coupon for Prilosec OTC. If not, they should talk with their doctor about choosing the
PPI that has the lowest out-of-pocket cost under their insurance plan.
Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs is an educational and outreach initiative that will compare a
variety of prescription drugs on price, effectiveness and safety to help consumers and their
doctors identify the most effective and affordable medicines. Consumers can download reports
from the free website, , of the first three drug categories reviewed:
cholesterol-lowering statins, PPIs, and arthritis and pain medicines. Each month, will feature a report on another drug category.

Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs
combines evidence-based research on the comparative
effectiveness and safety of prescription drugs with national-level data on drug prices. The
information on drug effectiveness is derived from the Drug Effectiveness Review Project (DERP)
and price information based on average retail prices paid in cash by consumers at the pharmacy.
The CU reports are peer-reviewed by medical experts in the particular drug category.

Comparative Effectiveness of PPIs1
Generic Name
Brand Name
Healing at 8 Prevention
with dose per day
Relief (%
of patients)
1. Effectiveness data presented for those PPI dosage strengths that have been studied to date

PPI Price Comparison

Generic Name
with dose per day
Brand Name1
Lansoprazole 15mg delayed release lingual tablets Lansoprazole 30 mg delayed release lingual tablets Prevacid Lansoprazole 15mg sustained release tablets Lansoprazole, 30 mg sustained release tablets Lansoprazole 30mg enteric coated capsules Lansoprazole 15mg delayed release suspension packets Lanzoprazole 30 mg delayed release suspension packets 9Omeprazole 20 mg
Prilosec OTC3
Omeprazole 10mg sustained release capsules Omeprazole 20mg sustained release capsules Omeprazole 40mg sustained release capsules Omeprazole 10mg sustained release capsules Omeprazole 20mg sustained release capsules 1. “Generic” indicates drug sold by generic name, omeprazole 2. Prices reflect nationwide retail average for September 2004, rounded to nearest dollar; data provided by NDCHealth, a healthcare information company. 3. This is a non-prescription (over-the-counter) version of omeprazole available at any drug store. Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs is funded in part with a major grant from the Engelberg Foundation, a charitable trust that supports a wide range of activities in the fields of health care, science and education. The project is also partially funded through a grant from the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health. (c) Consumers Union 2004. The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for commercial or promotional purposes. Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports®, is an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. To achieve this mission, we test, inform, and protect. To maintain our independence and impartiality, CU accepts no outside advertising, no free test samples, and has no agenda other than the interests of consumers. CU supports itself through the sale of our information products and services, individual contributions, and a few noncommercial grants.



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