Soaring Generic Drug Prices

Prices of some traditionally inexpensive generic drugs have risen sharply in the past year. A common medicine for asthma cost only $11 last year for a bottle of pills that now costs $434, for example. An antibiotic that cost $20 last October now sells for $1,849. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings launched an investigation into these soaring prices.

The issue has touched a nerve among consumers. More than 1,500 people have written to Sanders and Cummings about their personal experiences with drug price increases.

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“Digoxin cost me $12.00 for 90 days a year ago. Early this year it went to $33.00. Last week I got a refill and it is now $96.00 for the same amount.”

Carol Garnier, Sebring, Florida

“My wife has Lyme Disease and has had to take medications for it. When it was first diagnosed Doxycycline was prescribed and as I recall the cost was something like $5 for a two week supply. A year later when it was obvious the first round of drugs had not done the job a second round of Doxycycline was over $500. Some drug company has gotten very greedy.”

Bill Badger, Manchester, Vermont

“Doxycycline went from about twenty dollars for a month’s supply to six hundred dollars.”

Jenny Lewis, Bedford, Pennsylvania

“I am a PBC (Primary Biliary Cirrhosis - aka Cholangitis) patient who takes the drug ursodiol (generic for Urso) as the only treatment available for PBC… I take 6 capsules a day. Last time I refilled my prescription the value of the medicine was $244 this time it is well over $1500.”

Cathy Kirby, Fremont, California

“My clomipramine jumped from about $60 to over $700 for a 90 day prescription and another drug amitriptyline is now about $70 for a 30 day prescription. I now have both prescriptions filled in Canada. Both of these drugs are generic.”

Ilona Maves, Bellingham, Washington

“My co-pay for Levothyroid used to be $5.00 and now it's $40.00. I'm lucky that this is my only prescription.”

Martha Swaim, Sacramento, California