Consumer Pricing Guidance for Prescription Drugs

February 2018

To create better healthcare, the Health Council consistently reviews Bermuda’s health system. As per the Health Council Act 2004, Section 5 (h), the Health Council provides insight on the purchase price of drugs. Drugs are a significant expense for Bermuda’s residents. In our 2017 Health Services Survey, respondents highlighted that they “just can’t afford the medication they need” and “need help getting medicines they need”.

This page provides consumer guidance for fair market pricing in Bermuda, on commonly prescribed drugs.

This list shows alternative prices, based on fair market research for the most commonly prescribed drugs in Bermuda. This list aims to enhance transparency to help residents understand what goes into the costs of their drugs. Furthermore, it also serves as a pre-cursor for a drug formulary that will mandate the prices at which these drugs are sold.

As we seek to improve the health system, the Bermuda Health Council continuously looks at how to make healthcare more affordable. Over the past four months, we have been looking at solutions to improve one of the largest out-of-pocket costs to Bermuda’s residents, the cost of prescription drugs. This is the Council’s first of many steps to work within the current market to fairly and efficiently increase access to necessary healthcare.

You can use this tool to calculate how much your medication should cost in Bermuda. First, find your medication and dosage on the list. Then, multiply how many pills or ml of a medication you get by the unit cost. Add $15 to that total and you have what your medication should cost. Depending on your insurance coverage, some, or all, of the cost will be covered. Check with your insurance provider to know your level of coverage.

For example, if you get five 20mg Citalopram pills that are $0.20 each, you multiply 5 by $0.20 which gives you a drug cost of $1. Then you add the dispensing fee of $15 to get a total of $16.

All of these values were determined based on research and consultation with pharmacies, pharmaceutical professional bodies, Pharmacy Council, local importers, insurers as well as claims data. The Health Council received written confirmation of the pharmaceutical claims, the prices per pill, as well as, the components of their dispensing fee and costs of medication from a local importer.

The prices listed are based on the landed costs of each prescription drug plus a 25% margin increase for the importer and an additional 25% increase to account for any fluctuation in the market.  The total cost per prescription will be based on the total cost above, plus a dispensing fee.  Most pharmacies have a dispensing fee of $38 per dispensed medication. The lowest dispensing fee Bermuda Health Council confirmed was $15.

Dispensing Fee:

There are many necessary services and fees included in the dispensing fee. (Pharmacies do not receive funds from the actual medication sale) The pharmacies have indicated that these fees include: payroll expenses and benefits, professional insurance, facilities fees, insurance, licensing, inventory costs, and professional pharmacy services. Pharmacists do not bill separately for their professional services, which can include reviews of a prescriptions and potential drug interactions, sourcing and labeling of a product, mixing compounds, dispensing, and consultation.

To read more about the professional requirements for pharmacists, please click here.

This pricing tool is designed to help make drugs more affordable. If you have paid more for your drugs than what is listed, please show this list to your pharmacist and have a discussion about the cost of your drugs. Please also contact the Health Council by calling 292-6420 or emailing and let us know that you are paying more for your drugs.

*Less expensive options may be available
Drugs in bold green are the highest out-of-pocket cost

Want to do a quick search? Press ctrl + F and type in the drug you are looking for.

16-Jun-17Meeting with Chief Medical Officer about consumer pricing of pharmaceuticalsChief Medical Officer
23-Jun-17Meeting with Pharmacy Inspector regarding landed prices of selected medications, on islandPharmacy Inspector
28-Jun-17Email discussion with insurers about pharmacy claims dataHealth Insurers
30-Jun-17Received landed price list for ten common medications, confirming dispensing fee on island, from Pharmacy InspectorPharmacy Inspector
1-Jul-17Began international consultation and literature review of pharmaceutical practices to determine medication selectionWHO, Jamaican NHF, OECD/ PAHO
13-Jul-17Began claims data review of available claims informationBHeC
18-Aug-17Completion of research and memo briefBHeC
4-Sep-17Submission of memo brief to Ministry of HealthMinistry of Health
5-Sep-17Meeting with Pharmacy Inspector to determine representatives for further consultationPharmacy Inspector
8-Sep-17Began consultation set up with Pharmacy Council, via emailPharmacy Council
16-Sep-17Began consultation set up with Pharmacy Owners Assocation, via emailPharmacy Owners Association
5-Oct-17Meeting with pharmacy representatives about pharmaceutical market, possible formulary development, confirmation of pricing, and dispensing fee componentsPharmacy Owners Association & Pharmacy Council representatives
6-Oct-17Email discussion follow up, including examples of drug formularies and data requestsPharmacy Owners Association & Pharmacy Council representatives
6-Oct-17Email discussion with insurers about quantity inclusion for pharmacy claims dataInsurers
9-Nov-17Email consultation with the BMDA regarding list of medications to be assessed, firstBMDA
14-Nov-17Confirmation of pricing per pill from pharmacies, voluntarily, via emailPharmacy representatives
15-Nov-17Meeting with local importer of many medications about pharmaceutical procurement, in BermudaBGA
30-Nov-17Received letter detailing the components of the dispensing fee on pharmaceuticals, in BermudaPharmacy Owners Association
11-Dec-17Consultation with Health Insurance Department about pharmaceutical claims dataHID
19-Dec-17Meeting with Chief Medical Officer about consumer pricing of pharmaceuticalsChief Medical Officer
26-Jan-18Received most recent claims data from insurers, including pharmacy claimsInsurers
1-Feb-18Meeting with local importer to discuss landed costs, provided at meeting, and procurement limitations, received list of landed costs for selected medicationsBGA
5-Feb-18Additional email consultation with local importer about additional medications of interestBGA