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[afro-nets] Global pill price 'snapshot' reveals large differences in the price of ciprofloxacin

Global pill price 'snapshot' reveals large differences in the price of 

On 30 November 2009 Health Action International (HAI) undertook a global 
"snapshot" of the price of ciprofloxacin, a commonly used off-patent 
antibiotic. Individuals from HAI's extended network and partners visited 
private retail pharmacies to collect the price of the originator brand product 
and the lowest priced generic equivalent.   Data were collected from 93 
countries, where the price for a 7 day treatment course of ciprofloxacin ranged 
between US$0.42 and US$131. An interactive map on HAI's website presents the 
results and shows large price differentials across the world for this medicine 
(see While the prices should not be considered 
representative, as great price variation exists within some countries, these 
"snapshot" prices are indicative of what people have to pay, when paying the 
full retail price, in those pharmacies on that day.

The findings confirm that prices can vary widely both between countries and 
within countries. Although the patent on ciprofloxacin expired a number of 
years ago, the price difference between the lowest priced generic and the 
originator brand (the 'brand premium') is significant in many countries. For 
example, Colombia showed the largest brand premium, with the originator brand 
priced at 60 times the lowest priced generic. Colombia also had the highest 
treatment cost for originator brand ciprofloxacin in the private sector: a 
patient in Colombia pays more than 200 times the price they would pay in five 
Asian countries where the price of generics was lowest - a difference of almost 

The average price of the originator brand shows very little variation across 
countries of different wealth. In contrast, the average price of generics 
decreased as the wealth of the country decreased. 

The use of low priced generic medicines is a significant step towards improving 
access to treatment. Generic ciprofloxacin is mostly available at a much lower 
price than the originator brand product, and in many cases, there is ample room 
to reduce the generic price further, making treatment more affordable. HAI 
believes governments need to further examine access to affordable essential 
medicines in their country and give it the priority it deserves. Being sick is 
enough of a misfortune; obtaining needed medicines should never result in 
choices between impoverishment, going without treatment or buying only a 
partial course of treatment.

Please refer to the HAI website to see the interactive map reporting the price 
data, and the analysis of results and recommendations: 

For further information, contact Margaret Ewen at HAI Global (telephone +31 20 
683 3684 or email

Health Action International (HAI) is an independent, global network working to 
increase access to essential medicines and improve their rational use through 
research excellence and evidence-based advocacy

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