The Editorial Executive Committee welcomes letters, which should be less than 250 words. Before a decision to publish is made, letters which refer to a published article may be sent to the author for a response. Any letter may be sent to an expert for comment. When letters are published, they are usually accompanied in the same issue by their responses or comments. The Committee screens out discourteous, inaccurate or libellous statements. The letters are sub-edited before publication. Authors are required to declare any conflicts of interest. The Committee's decision on publication is final.

Letter to the editor

Editor, – I refer to the article 'Calcium supplementation: the bare bones' by J.D. Wark and C. Nowson (Aust Prescr 2003;26:126-7). I would like to ask on what information they base their assertion that calcium citrate is more expensive than calcium carbonate.

Calcium carbonate (Caltrate) and calcium citrate (Citracal) are both on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and their regulated price is identical.

These two products are largely prescribed on concession scripts for an identical cost, and are also regularly bought by consumers at an equal retail price of about $12.

How then, can calcium citrate be more expensive?

David Haworth
Pharmacist
Kirrawee, NSW

Author's comments

Professor J. Wark, one of the authors of the article, comments:

It is true that the price of a 120-tablet pack of Citracal is the same as a 120-tablet pack of Caltrate. However, the former contains 250 mg elemental calcium while the latter contains 600 mg. This makes Citracal a substantially more expensive source of calcium, even if one accepts that it has somewhat better oral bioavailability than Caltrate (which is not a consistent finding in the literature). It is worth emphasising that consumers and prescribing doctors alike should check the elemental calcium content of supplements.