Over the Counter Meds— Benadryl vs Diphenhydramine

Below are ads for the anti-allergy antihistamine and sleep aid diphenhydramine, perhaps better known as Benadryl, from the internet on Dec. 22, 2022. This allergy medication has been on the market for over 50 years. It’s been available as a generic for almost all that time and yet it’s still marketed under it’s brand name, Benadryl. It’s priced from around a penny (Costco in-store price under $5.00) or two (Walmart) / pill for the generic diphenhydramine versus ten cents to 20 or 30 cents/pill for the branded Benadryl pills. And everyone selling the medication makes a substantial profit. That the magic of capitalism.

Medicynic Note: The actual cost for the diphenhydramine must be a fraction of a penny/pill— Neither Costco nor Walmart sell this drug at a loss.

However the brand name version still outsells the generic, so it’s no wonder that drug and pharmacy companies still sell the brand name version but at 10-20 times their actual cost for the medication.

CVS and Rite-aid also show the brand name with their own CVS/Rite-aid label generic version…..usually at 50-75% of the branded prices above.

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