BRITS with hayfever can pay SIX times more for branded medicines which are identical to own-label equivalents, the Sun on Sunday can reveal.
A packet of 30 tablets of Piritize containing 10mg of the drug cetirizine cost £9.99 in Boots while the unbranded equivalent costs just £1.50 in high street shop Wilko.
And 30 Clarityn tablets cost £10.49 at Superdrug but you can buy the exact same drug – called loratadine – in the exact same shop for just £2.49.
One in five people suffer from hay fever symptoms and experts are already warning of the perfect storm for pollen hitting the UK next week as balmy 20oC temperatures arrive after a very wet winter, just as outdoor meet-ups and picnics return.
And you could also have a pain in the pocket – despite clearing your eyes, nose and throat – unless you shop around for medication.
Leading superintendent pharmacist Shyam Morjaria told the Sun on Sunday: “The active ingredients are exactly the same in the generic products as they are in the branded ones.
“What most people don’t realise is that a lot of the branded products are manufactured in exactly the same way, and even at the same factories, as their generic counterparts.
“But some still swear by the branded product due to the placebo effect.”
We found that a hay fever sufferer taking pills, nasal sprays and eye drops could make an annual saving of more than £150 if they buy the non-branded products for all-year-round use. With many feeling the worst effects of their pollen sensitivity for six months, that still nets a £75 cash boost.
ANTIHISTAMINE TABLET PRICES
Loratadine (10mg, 30 tablets)
Clarityn – £10.49 at Boots and Superdrug
Generic – £2.49 at Superdrug
Cetrizine (10mg, 30 tablets)
Piriteze and Benadryl Allergy – both £9.99 at Boots
Generic – £1.50 at Wilko
Chlorphenamine (4mg, 30 tablets)
Piriton – £3.69 for 30 tablets at Lloyds Pharmacy
Generic – £1.79 for 28 tablets at Weldricks Pharmacy
Sodium Cromoglicate (10ml, 2% w/v)
Optrex – £6.49 at Superdrug
Opticrom – £5.29 at Boots
Generic – £4.99 at Boots
Beclometasone Dipropionate (50 micrograms dose, 100 sprays)
Beconase – £5.99 at Boots
Generic – £3.67 at Boots
Fluticasone Propionate (50 micrograms dose, 60 sprays)
Pirinase – £8.69 at Boots
Generic – £6.59 at Boots
Hay fever – officially known as allergic rhinitis – occurs when the body reacts to particles such as pollen and dust.
Mr Morjaria, medical director at leading online pharmacy UK Meds, added: “I encourage people to use the three different treatments altogether – it would be pointless and futile to treat one of the symptoms but not another.
“They are designed for this and it’s safe to do so.”