Why Pay For Panadol When Generic Paracetamol Costs 73% Less?

A long time ago, I was a combat medic in the armed forces when I was serving national service.

I climbed Mount Biang in Brunei and walked along mountain ridges in Taiwan with a stretcher on my back, which was fun.

Good times aside, I also spent time in the medical center and picked up plenty of useful knowledge that has served me well until this date.

Here are 3 things that I found to be particularly useful when it comes to saving money.

1. Are generic drugs effective?

One of the mind-blowing realizations was the introduction to generic drugs.

To do a copy-paste from the FDA :

Many generic drugs are as effective as branded ones, and patients are actually encouraged to use generic drugs where they are suitable. A generic drug is a medication created to be the same as an already marketed brand-name drug in dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics, and intended use. These similarities help to demonstrate bioequivalence, which means that a generic medicine works in the same way and provides the same clinical benefit as the brand-name medicine. In other words, you can take a generic medicine as an equal substitute for its brand-name counterpart.

One of the most successful examples of this is the Panadol case study.

Just ask anyone you know – what do we take when we have fever or headache?

Is the answer almost always Panadol – which, if we think about it, is actually the name of a particular brand painkiller that contains paracetamol?

Most have us have probably grown up popping a Panadol or two whenever we’re not feeling well.

Now, the most basic form of Panadol (neither ActiFast nor Extra) is going for $7.50 a pack for 20.

Did you know that Guardian Pharmacy sells an alternative that contains the identical active ingredient (paracetamol), and it costs only $2.50 for 20 or $9.90 for 100?

At $9.90 for 100, you do realize that it is only 10 cents a pill vs Panadol at 37.5 cents a pill?

Panadol excels at selling its benefits such as being easier to swallow, quicker absorption, effective relief and gentle on the stomach – which could be really, really important factors especially when we’re sick.

At the end of the day, it is important to note that the active ingredient is actually the same.

Also, notice how doctors don’t ever give us Panadol?

Tip #1 : Save money by using generic drugs

2. Is placebo useless?

Sometimes, medications that are being sold at pharmacies aren’t necessarily useful in helping us get better.

Take the example of Neuflo duck Leftosis which can be easily obtained at pharmacies. These lysozyme-containing are supposed to be able to soothe the throat for fast relief.

Well, HSA concluded that evidence from the post-market clinical studies as well as published literature to date had failed to show efficacy (the ability to produce a desired or intended result) of lysozyme.

This led to lysozyme-containing products being de-registered as therapeutic products in Singapore.

Pretty amazing what marketing can do sometimes.

But I’ll admit, my wife and I do take Neuflo when we’re feeling unwell and more than once, it seemed to have helped our conditions in the past.

So, is lysozyme effective or useless?

Tip #2 : Certain medications aren’t effective at all

3. Can medications be purchased overseas without a prescription?

When I was younger, I was diagnosed with allergic rhinitis when I was doing national service.

I told my medical officer that I was having running nose (sorry for being gross, it is like clear water dripping from my nose sometimes) almost daily, and got a military-funded referral to do a skin-prick test at Singapore General Hospital which confirmed my condition.

Since then, I have been using the Nasonex nasal spray on an on-off basis. It is a daily-use intranasal corticosteroid that provides relief from the symptoms of my allergies.

We can only get this via a doctor’s prescription in Singapore, which meant that I had to visit my GP regularly which was a hassle – one bottle only lasts for 1-1.5 months.

To my surprise, Nasonex is sold over the counter in Australian pharmacies without a need for a prescription, and they’re cheaper too.

Tip #3 : Medications can be cheaper overseas

Hopefully, you have picked up a useful tip or two today to save those precious dollars!

Think again before picking that box of Panadol next time?

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