Don called me last week.
He wanted to reduce his triglycerides, but wanted to find out more about OmegaVia first.
“My doctor told me to take Lovaza,”he said.
Lovaza is the new FDA approved drug made from fish oil. It is used to treat high triglycerides. Each Lovaza capsule has 840 mg of EPA and DHA Omega-3.
“Lovaza works really well. How’s it working out?” I asked.
“Well, I tried to fill the prescription, but you’re not going to believe what Lovaza costs!” They wanted me to pay $150 copay for a one-month supply! That’s way out of my budget.”
I get calls like these regularly.
What Lovaza Costs…
7 out of 10 insurance policies cover Lovaza. But most of you will still have to pay very high out-of-pocket costs.
It’s worse if your insurance will not cover Lovaza. Then, your monthly prescription can cost you anywhere from $280 to $520. Yes, that’s PER MONTH!
At my local SavOn Pharmacy, it costs $2.33 per pill. And the daily dosage is 4 pills per day. So it costs $9.33 per day or just under $300 per month. Or about $3,500 per year.
“For that mark up, you’d think they’d cover up the fishy smell!”
– Anonymous caller complaining about having to pay high copay for Lovaza.
If you buy Lovaza online, the cheapest I’ve seen it is $1.29 per pill or $1,883 per year.
Why does Lovaza cost so much?
- Expensive FDA approval process. It can cost a drug company half a billion dollars to get a new drug approved. Someone has to pay for that cost.
- Complicated health care system that allows several players to profit from the cost of a drug. But that’s another blog for another day.
- Cost of running a drug company.
- Cost of promoting and advertising Lovaza.
- Profit. Since Lovaza is the only FDA approved fish oil, they can charge a premium.
Lovaza made $1 billion or more for its maker.
Lovaza marketing claim says that it is:
- FDA approved
- Contains more Omega-3 than over-the-counter supplements
- Uses 5-step patented purification process
- Certified Pure (unlike dietary supplements)
- Mercury content is acceptable (unlike supplements)
- Omega-3 content is certified (unlike supplements)
Lovaza is a pure fish oil product. No arguments.
Makers of Lovaza claim that since supplement makers are not required to test, certify or guarantee any of the above, all supplements are not to be trusted.
They have a point. Many supplements are not thoroughly tested.
But what if there were SOME supplements that were also:
- Purified by patented process
- 3rd party certified for purity
- 3rd party certified for mercury
- 3rd party certified for Omega-3 content
And some supplements contain MORE Omega-3 than Lovaza!
Could it be true?
Yes, it is.
A few conscientious supplement companies do this.
Don’t take my word for it. There is an organization called IFOS. It stands for International Fish Oil Standards. They are located at the University of Guelph.
They test fish oils. That’s all they do. And they publish the test results for free. You can review all the results.
|Click Here to View
Sample of 3rd Party Certificate of Analysis
Don’t take my word for it. Google it yourself. Google the phrase ‘IFOS Consumer Reports’ and take a look.
University of Michigan – what do they know about Lovaza cost?
The University of Michigan insurance stopped covering Lovaza.
Why? Because they felt that there was a cheaper, safe over-the-counter alternative available. Scroll down to page 2 of this document.
FDA approval does not necessarily mean greater potency, purity, or effectiveness. It just means that somebody assembled the hundreds of millions of dollars to obtain FDA approval.
There is plenty of data documenting the ABSENCE of mercury and pesticide residues from fish oil nutritional supplements. The notion that Lovaza is pure and nutritional supplements are not is simply not supported by any of the independent test that have been conducted, including a study by Consumer Reports and two by Consumer Lab (an excellent service, by the way).
– Dr. William Davis M.D., Cardiologist.
What about Generic Lovaza?
As of now, there is no generic alternative for Lovaza. As patents expire and other pharma companies enter the market, Lovaza’s price will go down.
Until then, if your insurance does not cover the cost of Lovaza, I suggest you start with 3rd party tested pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplements.
|DISCLAIMER: The contents of this blog do not constitute medical advice. This is merely an open discussion of the science behind health and nutrition. Please consult your physician for medical advice.|
About the Author: Vin Kutty is OmegaVia’s Scientific Advisor and Chief Blogger. He is a nutritionist, author, and Omega-3 expert with over 20 years of experience. Email him.