Some drug prices skyrocketing, becoming headache for patients

The prices of some popular generic drugs have recently skyrocketed. 

Cathy Scantlan was prescribed pills for her acid reflux. The pills didn't cost her much, but it was a different story for her insurance company.

"I saw the insurance paid $695 for this medication and I just went ballistic," she says.  She called the Consumer Watchdog to look into the issue.

As a nurse, Cathy knows that the high price tag paid by her insurance will eventually trickle down to her as health care premiums rise every year.

Pharmacies say they have to charge more because their costs to buy the drugs are going up.

According to Michael Corbin R.Ph., the owner of Kings Health Mart Pharmacy, creams like Nystatin were $1.50 one day, and $63 the next. We checked the price again, and it's now at $88.

The antibiotic Doxyclen went from five cents to more than two dollars. The heart medicine Digoxin went from ten cents to 73 cents a pill.

"It's been around since the 1800's. It's made in a plant so there is no reason for this to be an expensive product," says Corbin, referring to Digoxin.

A study by Pembroke Consulting found one-third of generic drugs increased in price last year, with 12 of them increasing by 2000 percent.

The consulting firm blames supply and demand on part of the problem. There's also a shortage of some drugs and less competition due to mergers in the industry.

Meanwhile, Cathy took action, hoping to keep the prices we all pay in check. She switched to a cheaper alternative, saving herself and her insurance money.

"I called the pharmacy and said, ‘I won't be getting this prescription'", she says.

With prices increasing, make sure you shop around as prices vary dramatically from pharmacy to pharmacy. Ask about discount programs or alternative drugs that are cheaper.

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