The high cost of Creon digestive enzymes

Posted , 16 users are following.

Hi !

I just checked out the cost of Creon digestive enzymes and was shocked at the price of this medication. Not sure if I'm able to afford them. Can anyone tell me  why Creon is so expensive? There are other enzymes on the market at a fraction of the cost and I'm asking myself if its a question of quality, effectiveness or what makes the difference in price justified. Any advice appreciated. Thanks!

0 likes, 18 replies

18 Replies

  • Posted

    I know! It's shocking! But, after I spent $2900.00 on my prescription back in January, I got a letter and a discount card from AbbVie saying that after my insurance pays, I have to pay $5.00 and then they pay the rest. I was thrilled! However, when I ordered my new 90 day refill recently, my insurance paid the whole thing because I had met my deductible. I don't know if you have insurance or not but if you do you may get a discount card also. I am in the US, so don't know if you are too. I sure wish I would have known about AbbVie before I bought my first 90 day prescription.
    • Posted

      Hi Nina !

      Thanks for your reply. I live in Ireland so the system is a bit different to the USA. But, the cost of Creon in both places is huge. I bought some digestive enzymes in a health food shop a few weeks back having heard of them here on this site and they worked for me as my pain subsided when I started taking them. When they ran out, I checked on Creon as I heard that they were among the best, but the price amazed me. The other enzymes called Quest were a fraction of the cost but worked nevertheless. Now, my doctor tells me that as my  pancreas is working, and I don't suffer from 'pancreatic insufficiency', I might be able to get by without the need for extra enzymes. He will check my levels in a few weeks time and decide then what to do. Unfortunately, the health food shop has run out of Quest in the meantime so I'll try to order them on the internet instead. Quest digestive enzymes contain Amylase and Lipase which are produced by the pancreas as you know but Creon seems to be more 'heavy duty' and are used more frequently for pancreatic patients. So, I'll wait for a few more weeks and hopefully if I need Creon then my insurance should be able to cover it. Thanks for you advice.    

  • Edited

    WOW I'm shocked too Pete, I just checked the 'full cost' on my creon and it says AU$171.58!  I don't know if that's for 100 or 500 which is the usual amount prescribed in one go here. 

    Creon is on the Pharmaceuticl Benefit Scheme list here in Australia which means I pay AU$6.20 for 5 bottles of 100.  The benefit cost just went up a dollar from $5.20 but I'm not complaining. 

    Is there a benefit scheme where you are, I think you said previously that you live in Ireland.  Would you be covered by England's scheme which is basically free meds?

    There are websites devoted to assisting patients afford meds, check creon out and see if they have a scheme.

    I checked and whilst we Aussies have a reciprocal arrangement with Ireland and I assume the reverse is also true, it doesn't cover meds just care.  Too bad I was going to invite you downunder lol. 

    I hope you can resolve the problem Pete you need your Creon, if another worked better or as well and was cheaper we'd know about it I think.  Is your doc prescribing it for you, that could be the difference.


    • Posted

      Hi Reefsider!

      Thanks for the info. Yes, I live in Ireland and our health service here isn't great to be honest. My doctor  hasn't prescribed any digestive enzymes for me yet, and told me yesterday that I might not need them as my pancreas is still working ! He will check my levels in the next few weeks and decide then if I need Creon or not. If so I should be able to get them at a reduced rate rather than paying the huge price as advertised on the internet. The pharmacist told me that Creon has no side effects, yet I'm not so sure about this as I think I read of someone mentioning side affects. Anyway, it looks like Creon is well estabished for the treatment of pancreatitis and the medication to take. The other medication I got myself didn't cost much but contain Amylase and Lipase which I think are the important enzymes as far as the pancreas is concerned. My GP told me to keep taking these ones for the moment as they 'wouldn't do me any harm anyway' ! Maybe I'll make a trip down under after all and the sunshine that you guys are always enjoying might cure of all my problems! Good luck and good health!    

    • Edited

      Hi Reefsider.

      I'm from the UK. our meds are not free in the UK. everyone that lives and works there have their income deducted at source towards healthcare known as nhs. there is no choice in the matter. if you want to pay for other private insurance it would be additional. often drugs are not available on the nhs scheme even for those that have paid in all their lives.

      I feel for anyone that needs Creon but take objection to the UK nhs being called free when I have paid every no th for 40 years.

  • Posted

    there is another drug called Zenpep that is also a pancreatic enzyme and less expensive than Creon. My insurance at one time would not cover creon in the US and they changed it to zenpep which was almost as effective as Creon, Personally like the creon, which I now have, the best.
  • Posted

    My son was prescribed this (Zenpen) today and it was going to cost $600.  A few years ago the FDA made all the makers of these pancreatic enzymes fully calibrate their potency.  They discovered that most manufacturers dropped out and the few that remained jacked up the cost to ridiculous levels.  My son had to tell the pharmacist not to fill it, he can't afford that.  We are going to have to find an alternative.  (We are in the US.)

    • Posted

      I, too, have decided I am not able to fill my prescription for these enzymes. Have you checked the web sites for Zenpep? They have a "discount" card that is supposed to make the medication affordable (but it cannot be used in conjunction with Medicare, so I can't use it). Maybe it can help your son's situation. 

    • Posted

      Hi Marti - yes I did check the coupon.  It seemed to reduce the cost by less than $20.  The prescription still runs about $600.  He bought an over-the-counter pancreatic enzyme product that he burps up an he says it tastes terrible.  He will ask the doctor about what to do tomorrow.  Thanks for your suggestion though.
  • Posted

    I realize this post is from two years ago, but I have recently been diagnosed with Pancreatitis, and was prescribed Creon. The cost after my insurance ran was over $200. I am a senior on a fixed income, and don't think I will be able to buy it. I told my doctor, and he sent a prescription for Zenpep to my pharmacy, and after they ran that medication they told me the cost would be $65 more than the Creon. I don't understand this, as it was supposed to be less expensive. I looked at the websites for each of the medications, and the do have what they call "discount cards" but they cannot be used in conjunction with my insurance and/or with Medicare. Since I've never used this medication, I am not convinced I need it, but my doctor apparently believes I do. Anybody know if there are less expensive enzyme medications?

  • Posted

    I am based in South Africa and require Creon 25000. Local price is the equivalent of USD 210.00 per 200 caps. I found the same through an on-line pharmacy in Germany for USD 73.00.

    All it takes is someone to go and get it, which is probably worth the trouble if you buy a few months of supply or buy even more for friends (or your local pharmacist).

  • Posted

    I'm confused with your question. For people who need this medication due to pancreatic issues it is always prescribed in the first place by the consultant and then taken over by the GP. At most you would only have to pay the prescription charge.

    Personally I have never heard of anyone wondering about the price of a prescription drug.

    Maybe I am too accepting of what I am prescribed to get involved in the question of costings.

    • Posted

      That very much depends on where you live and which medical scheme pays for your medication. In South Africa the government pays zilch towards ones medical needs. It's all private and one needs comprehensive medical cover which is terribly expensive. Most people, who can afford to, buy an in-hospital cover that pays for scheduled and emergency medical procedures. All out-of-hospital medication has to be paid for out of your own pocket. Unless you are black, of course.

    • Posted

      Peter I accept what you say as I'm not in Sth Africa. I'm wondering if there's a way around it there using the system? If you do have medical cover I'm wondering if you could present to hospital ER and get the Creon that way on a regular basis? I would classify the pain we get as an emergency at times.

      I tend to have pain and malabsorption issues without creon so would go to the doctor or the ER when problems arise, which used to be the situation. Would that be classified as an 'in hospital' medication requirement there?

      Here in Australia we are very fortunate as the standard script for Creon is for 400 capsules (4xboxes) which costs $6.30 on our national health scheme. However if one presents to the ER you're given immediate medication and a script for the rest.

      I don't know how it works in hospitals in Sth Africa, it's just a thought.

      As for those living in the US I feel very sad that people are missing out on getting a proven treatment because of cost. Creon is the miracle for me.

    • Posted

      Hi Reefsider,

      Presenting to hospital for emergency pain relieve with acute pancreatitis would get you a day on an anti inflammatory drip and perhaps a shot of morphine. They would then, also, give you a script for Creon that you would have to buy using your own money. Even a bandaid taken out of the hospital will not be refunded by the so-called medical insurance.

      It's a bid of a ripoff but that is how SA's people are treated if they are not indigent or have the right skin colour or have the time to wait for 2 months to see a government doctor. There are plans to introduce a National Health Insurance but it's bound to fail as there is nobody to pay for it but the minority that has the money.

    • Posted

      Thank you for responding Peter.

      I had top private health insurance all my life until 5 years ago when one of my doc's told me that having chronic health issues meant I'd receive the same treatment with or without that cover, and it's proven true, albeit minus some of the frills.

      I can recall having an elective surgery years ago in a fancy private hospital that billed me for paracetamol and dressings before discharge. The bill also included whatever was used during surgery, I couldn't believe it and being private also meant there were large 'gap' fees as well.

      These days I don't get the fancy hospitals or private rooms (given to sickest patients regardless of insurance in govt hospitals), there are no in-house chefs, replaced instead by a variety of mystery meals prepared who knows when, but I do get treatment and surgeries when required and follow-up equal to private cover so I don't complain. After surgery in December I was even provided with free home help for a month!

      I hope the national health system you mention does work or at least contribute positively to the population.

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