By all accounts drug prices continue to soar. According to a RX Savings Solutions Study, a heavily prescribed antidepressant, fluoxetine marketed as Prozac, has increased in price 879%. More than 3,400 drugs have increased their price in the first six months of 2019, representing a 17% increase from the year before. The Trump administration is trying to rein in the prescription drug prices, but at every turn prescriptions cost continues to rise.
In addition to fluoxetine, other commonly used drugs with big price increases so far in 2019 include:
- Mometasone 0.1% Topical Cream. This topical steroid has increased 381% this year, Rx Savings Solutions found. Mometasone treats skin conditions like eczema, hay fever, and asthma.
- Promethazine/Codeine 6.25-10mg/5mL solution. This pain reliever and cough medication rose 326%, Rx Savings Solutions said.
- Guanfacine 2mg tablet. This ADHD treatment rose 118%, the study found.
Many prescriptions go unfilled
A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that four (4) of five (5) Americans believe the cost of prescription drugs is unreasonable. Unsurprisingly, about one-third of patients say they’re skipping prescription medicine because of the cost, the survey found.
Go broke or suffer
For individuals who decide to fill their expensive prescriptions it’s a life or death situation. Insulin prescribed to individuals with Type 1 diabetes, is what helps people with the disease stay alive. Even though the medication was discovered nearly a century ago, its price has more than doubled over 5 years, causing financial hardship for many diabetics and prompting some to ration the medication to cut costs. In some cases, those decisions have proved fatal.
What about generics?
According to MedicineNet, generic drugs are copies of brand-name drugs that have exactly the same dosage, intended use, effects, side effects, route of administration, risks, safety, and strength as the original drug. In other words, their pharmacological effects are exactly the same as those of their brand-name counterparts.
For example, metoprolol is a generic drug and is commonly prescribed to treat hypertension. Lopressor is the brand name for the same drug. Generic drugs cost less than brand names, not because the drugs are different, but because the generic drug manufacturer has less costs when making the drug. The savings are passed to the patients. There has been a concern that generic drug prices are too high. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating generic drug manufacturers for drug price fixing.
Tips to consider next time you get your prescriptions filled
- Always ask your pharmacist if there is generic or less expensive version of the drug you are having filled.
- Shop around, every pharmacy, including the ones in the big box stores like Target or Walmart have a pharmacy department with different list prices. As you shop around, ask the pharmacist at the stores you frequent for your cost to fill your medications with them.
- Ask your doctor or search online for manufacturer coupons. In some cases, your doctor may be able to provide you with some of the samples supplied by the pharmacy company to him and can pass it on to you free of charge.