5 Oct 2017

Over the counter: Antihistamine prices in flux

3:15 pm on 5 October 2017

Pharmacies are charging widely varying amounts for antihistamines, with more than $20 differences for the same product within the same city, Consumer NZ has found.

Packs of pills

Consumer NZ found large price variations for the same product within the same city, and sometimes within the same pharmacy chain. Photo: CC BY_SA 2.0 theglobalpanorama

Cosumer NZ compared prices at 30 different pharmacies and found the difference in cost between the cheapest and most expensive pack of the same antihistimines was more than $20.

They compared prices of pharmacies in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch for seven commonly stocked antihistimine products.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said the price variations would shock customers.

"In Christchurch, we found one pharmacy selling a 90 pack of Razene for $67 and then just across town you could buy it for $38. For the same thing in a Wellington pharmacy you could get it for $30."

"We found pharmacies even within their own chain were charging different prices."

Across all 30 pharmacies, the cheapest packet of 30 pills of Telfast was $45 and the most expensive was $67.

Ms Chetwin said the findings demonstrated how important it was for consumers buying antihistimines to shop around.

"We found the cheapest prices for five of our seven surveyed products were offered by an online-only pharmacy, even after delivery fees were factored in.

"Buying online is a good way to cut the cost of your antihistamine bill."

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