Be a Careful Consumer at the Pharmacy!

Playing Pharmacy Marketing Tactics Exposed

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.

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“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.”

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“As a consumer you have to be so very smart when it comes to these things,” Dr. Stork notes.