Good news if you’re one of the millions of Americans that takes Crestor, a popular cholesterol medication.
How much does Crestor cost?
Many insurance and Medicare plans either do not cover Crestor or require a high co-pay. If the drug is not covered, you’ll pay around $300 a month. Even with GoodRx discounts, you’re looking at about $250. And even if Crestor is covered by your insurance, you likely pay $30 – $50 or more per month, and that’s after you satisfy your deductible.
With other generic statins out there, why is Crestor such a big deal?
Americans spent more on Crestor last year than almost any other drug. Crestor is ranked #4 with over $6 billion in annual sales. Crestor is also the second most popular brand-name drug in the US, with over 21 million prescriptions filled last year.
Why Crestor? Are the other generics not as good?
You should always talk to your doctor about which statin will work best for you, but there are a few benefits to Crestor. According to Dr. Sharon Orrange of The University of Southern California:
- Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Crestor (rosuvastatin) are the most potent statins, reducing LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) levels by around 60 percent.
- Lipitor and Crestor are more effective at lowering triglycerides than Zocor (simvastatin) or Pravachol (pravastatin).
- Crestor is more effective in raising HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”) than Lipitor, Zocor, or Pravachol.
How much will generic Crestor cost?
When a generic version of a brand-name drug is first released, prices typically start at about 85% of the brand-name drug price. With Crestor cash prices at $250 – $300, generic rosuvastatin may start at around $200 – $250.
However, GoodRx expects rosuvastatin prices to drop really quickly soon after release. Why? Let’s look at the price history of similar drugs:
- Generic Zocor (simvastatin) decreased to about 80% of the brand price six months after launch, and 40% after one year.
- Generic Lipitor (atorvastatin) dropped in price even more quickly, falling to as low as $15 after just over a year.
- Crestor is the sixth generic statin to hit the market, so you may see an even more significant drop.
GoodRx expects prices to fall sharply after about 6 months. Most generics have an “exclusivity period” lasting 6 months (180 days) after their launch date. During that time, only one generic manufacturer can make rosuvastatin. After 6 months, more manufacturers will produce the drug, which means more competition—and lower prices for you.
Do I have to do anything to switch to the generic?
By law, pharmacies are required to dispense the generic version of a drug unless your doctor has specified otherwise. If you have a current prescription for Crestor, your pharmacy will most likely switch you over to the generic version, with nothing else required from you. If you’re taking a different statin and want to switch, you’ll need a new prescription from your doctor.
Once you’ve switched to the generic, you’ll want to keep your eye on current discount prices as well as your insurance co-pay for about a year. Prices will vary greatly between pharmacies, and insurance plans can sometimes be slow to adjust to new rates. It’s worth checking GoodRx before each refill to see if you can save.
What if I have insurance?
If you have insurance or Medicare, you will likely see immediate savings as you switch to a generic co-pay—although if your plan has “preferred” generics, rosuvastatin may not fall under your lowest co-pay tier.
If you choose to stick with the brand, most plans will no longer cover brand-name Crestor once the generic is available, so expect to pay $200-300 per month.
Is there anything else I can do to lower my costs for now?
AstraZeneca, the manufacturer of brand-name Crestor, is offering a savings program good for 12 fills over the next 14 months. This program reduces insurance co-pays to as low as $3, and let uninsured patients save $65 per month on Crestor. You can save a bit more if you fill a 60- or 90-day supply instead.
You may not want to plan on the program being around forever—many brand-name discounts are discontinued within a year of a generic release—but this could help you save some money until generic prices drop.
Here’s what to take away: The arrival of the generic version of Crestor will likely save Americans over $5 billion a year. Prices will start to drop quickly, and there will be huge opportunities to save, whether you have insurance, Medicare or just pay cash. Now that’s great news for all of us.