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Published: 15 November 2011

Wholesale and retail drug prices: cocaine

Wholesale drug prices are the prices paid for large quantities that will be distributed within a country, whereas retail prices are those paid by the drug user. By comparing the two, estimates can be made of the maximum profit margins that drug traffickers may obtain in the retail market.

Recent data collected by the EMCDDA from 14 European countries show that, in 2008, the wholesale price for consignments of 1 kg of cocaine can be estimated at between EUR 31 000 and EUR 58 000, with most countries reporting figures of around EUR 35 000. When reported, the average purity level of such consignments was close to 70 %.

In 2008, retail cocaine prices varied from EUR 50 000 to EUR 80 000 for the equivalent of 1 kg of cocaine in these countries, and were thereby 25 % to 83 % higher than wholesale prices. Purity levels decreased when moving from the wholesale to the retail market, where they were reported to be on average between 13 % and 60 %, depending on the country. Additional data are, however, required to precisely estimate purity-adjusted price differences between the wholesale and the retail level.

An overview of methods and data availability in Europe is available in an EMCDDA report on a pilot study on wholesale drug prices published in 2011.

About the EMCDDA

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Friday, 28 October 2011