ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork looks at seemingly random labeling and pricing of over-the-counter drugs – including examples where the same drug, marketed for two different conditions, has entirely different pricing.
Dr. Stork found two boxes of pills in a local drugstore. One in a blue box is marketed as a night-time sleep aid. The other, in a pink box, is marketed for allergy relief. But both boxes contain the exact same active ingredient, diphenhydramine, in the same dosage.
“What’s the difference between these two pills, other than their color?” he asks. “Price! The generic-brand allergy relief was three dollars more than the generic sleep-aid. The exact same product!”
And that’s not all he discovered. Although both boxes contain exactly the same medication, the warning inserts – intended to alert customers to side effects – are different. The “sleep-aid” box warns users not to drive, while the “allergy” box merely notes that they should “use caution when driving.”
“As a consumer you have to be so very smart when it comes to these things,” Dr. Stork notes.