Why is Modafinil so expensive?

If you’ve looked into buying Modafinil (or any of its analogues) online, one of the things you may have noticed was that it ain’t cheap.

Vendors like Duckdose sells Modalert from SunPharma, with varying prices. Small orders of Modalert 200mg will run you anywhere from $1-2 per pill, depending on where you shop.

SupplierPrice per PillMore Information
Modafinil XL$179 for 100 pills

($1.79 per pill)

See Modafinil XL review here
DuckDose$125 for 100 pills

($1.25 per pill)

See DuckDose review here

Why does it cost so much?

There are actually multiple factors involved here that we’ll try to explain.

Cephalon’s Provigil is as popular as it is an effective medication for those who need it. Combined with it’s low potential for side effects and high efficacy rate are at least a part of the reason for its increase in cost. (Provigil made $475 million dollars on their brand name Modafinil in 2005.)

Provigil’s brand name Modafinil was one case where a situation known as “pay for delay,” that the Federal Trade Commission is currently investigating through their Bureau of Competition.

Basically “pay for delay” works with a brand name manufacturer paying some set amount of money (often in the millions) to keep the generic version off of the market for some set amount of time.

A Modafinil Conspiracy?

Since there are only four major generic pharmaceutical manufacturers in the United States, a nice tidy sum of 200 million to each guaranteed that no generic form of Modafinil would be seen on the market for the next 6 years.

After blocking the generics, Cephalon then used another tactic to keep prescription prices high. After stalling through patent violation suits and delaying as long as they could in court, Cephalon began their out of court settlement proceedings in order to enter into an agreement to pay the generic manufacturers to not attempt a US generic version of Provigil.

At this point, Cephalon hikes up the price on Provigil and introduces a new version (Nuvigil) so they can further extend their patent protection on the new version.

The FTC originally filed a suit against Cephalon in 2008 for these practices and since there have been some generic versions. One of the generic pharmaceutical manufacturers in question (Teva) who were in talks about creating a US generic for Provigil have since acquired Cephalon.

Brand name Provigil in the US without insurance can be upwards of $50 for a single 200mg pill.

In fact, the prices for Modafinil are some of the most expensive for any equivalent drug and due to lack of generics (the drug is still under patent from Cephalon, formerly French lab Lafon) the price has remained high for the duration.

Modafinil usage on the rise

Another reason for the price tag is the fact that it’s become a popular designer drug amongst CEO’s, Wall Street traders, web designers and coders and students across the US and Europe.

Today, generic versions are more available, but the significant price savings which generally accompany generic drugs is driven by a competitive market of suppliers. This lower-priced market is still developing at this time.

AS of October 2013 prices of Modafinil ran from $800 to $900 dollars for a bottle of 100mg pills and $1200 to almost $1500 per bottle of 200mg pills.

Some people choose to order Modafinil online from overseas pharmacies, such as those in India or elsewhere. This can occasionally be a risky situation since some Indian or Chinese labs don’t have the same quality assurance and oversight in their labs as we do in the US and Europe.

There is also the issue of counterfeit Modafinil tablets or even tablets sold that contain impurities which could be a health concern.

If you do order from a pharmacy overseas you could also face issues with Customs if you can’t prove that you have a prescription for the drug. There are also many issues where when purchasing from a possibly shady online source nothing was shipped after payment.

If you’re planning on trying to use Modafinil, getting a prescription is the safest means so that you can ensure that the product you’re going to receive is what it is and has been produced under the proper safety conditions.

Price may still be an issue but a bit of expense could be far preferable to a “love letter” from CBP explaining your package has been seized or worse, a shipment of counterfeit pills possibly full of impurities.


Before taking Modafinil (or any other supplement), it’s always best to consult with your personal care practitioner.

This is the case even for someone in good health, but especially important if you are currently under a doctor’s care or taking any prescription or over-the-counter drugs for any existing condition.

More on taking Modafinil