Why does the price vary so much from one pharmacy to another?


We all have a trusted pharmacy where, more or less, we can know the price of those drugs that we buy more regularly. But suddenly one day you decide to go to another. At the time of paying you realize that you have bought “the usual” and there is a significant difference in the price of each other. But why?

First of all, we are going to point out what three types of products we can find in a pharmacy: there are the prescription drugs, those that do not need a prescription and parapharmacy products.

Medical prescription (bigstock)

The most important thing: knowing how to distinguish medications

Those subject to medical prescription have the prices set by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS). According to this law, the prices of these products must be the same in all Spanish pharmacies. That is, if for any antibiotic a RRP of 4.10 euros is marked, it should cost the same in all pharmacies.

On the other hand, in the case of “over the counter” drugs, the price may vary from one pharmacy to another. But this variation can only be 10%. In this case, the price will depend on the commercial strategy carried out by each pharmacy to be favored over the competition. The patient will notice a variation in price practically insignificant.

Finally, they are parapharmacy products such as a shampoo, gel or pills to get to sleep. Thanks to these sales, pharmacies get more profit margin. This is because although each laboratory has a fixed price recommending, which is not mandatory, pharmacies can raise or lower that amount depending on their interests and the benefit that they want to get from the product.

Medicine bottle (bigstock)

What does it depend on whether a parapharmacy product costs more or less?

Basically the price will be more or less economical depending on where the pharmacy purchases these products. Namely, It is not the same to do it through wholesalers, than from the laboratory. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages.

  • If the pharmacy purchases the product through wholesale warehouses: the price will always be more expensive, but there are more chances that the product reaches your hands sooner because they will be able to offer a single unit of what is requested.
  • If it does through the laboratory the price will be cheaper, because the pharmacist will be able to negotiate, but will have to buy more quantity. That is, the discount comes because it is not the same to buy 20 units than 200.

However, the solution to this price disparity can be found by diving into various authorized websites where when paying you will choose the one that best suits your needs.