(WTOL) - The EpiPen in recent weeks has become the poster child for heartless pharmaceutical companies. But it's not just that allergy pen driving many people to have to choose between food on the table and having their prescriptions filled.
Families Struggle to Pay for Medicine
The maker of the life-saving allergy device EpiPen has been through a public shaming lately, for its 400 percent price hike on the injectors since 2008.
"I have two children who both have allergies, and for me to purchase the 6 EpiPens they needed, it was $3,000," mom Holly Lahner said.
But the EpiPen is just one of hundreds of medications soaring in price.
Other drug prices up sharply, according to Reuters News and other reports:
- Insulin, for diabetes: from $100 to $500 per refill.
- Actos generic, for diabetes: from $20 to $160.
- Lipitor generic, for cholesterol: from $30 to $150.
- Pravastatin, for cholesterol: from $25 to $175
- Humira, for arthritis: from $75 to $150
- Hormone replacement generics (several different medicine): from $40 to $90
- Nitroprusside, for high blood pressure, from $50 to $650
- Tretinoin cream for acne: from $20 to $130 a tube
- Narcan, for heroin overdoses, from $10 to $42 a dose (though fire and police departments, with taxpayer dollars, end up paying for most of them).
Getting Harder to Find Alternatives
But from the doesn't that stink file, why fighting back is getting harder...
Until recently, you could go to Sam's Club and Costco to save hundreds of dollars over drugstore chains. And websites like Goodrx.com would offer big discount coupons.
But with many generic manufacturers shutting down or consolidating, the savings are disappearing too. Often the generic is now the same price as the original brand name.
In addition, a recent Los Angeles Times report says that since Medicare is not allowed to negotiate drug prices, the manufacturers set the price, and insurance companies end up passing that high, new price onto consumers.
Drug prices are lower in Canada, Mexico and other countries as the government negotiates with the pharmaceutical companies and forces the price down.
Doesn't that stink?
Consumer Reports magazine says in that case, ask your doctor about cheaper alternative medications that may work for you.