Generic drug prices increase significantly nationwide

Generic drug prices increase significantly nationwide
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Generic drug prices are increasing significantly nationwide.

A pharmacist in Baxter Springs, Kansas is taking action, heading off to Washington D.C. this week in search of some answers from lawmakers as to why the increase is occurring.

Generic medications are no longer the cheaper alternative to many brand name medicines, leaving some patients no longer able to afford their prescriptions.

Local pharmacists say about 70 percent of the prescriptions they fill are generic medications.

Customer Dorsey Olds says the cost of his medications is continuously rising, with a 50 percent increase in just the past year.

He fears one day he may no longer be able to afford his medication at all.

“I am worried it might get to that point,” Olds said.

And he is not alone.

“It’s really sad because people have to choose between being able to eat or buy their medicine, and they need their medicine,” said Karen Kinder, Baxter Springs resident. “There shouldn’t have to be a choice like that.”

Brian Caswell, owner of Wolkar Drug in Baxter Springs says he has seen anywhere from 1,000 to 9,000 percent increases.

“The prices are getting bigger,” Caswell said. “We’re seeing more generic drugs being affected and therefore, it’s having a greater impact on more people.”

Doxycycline, which is commonly used to treat tick bites, is one of the medications that has seen a significant increase.

Customers are now paying about 10 times more for that prescription.

“It was fairly inexpensive around $10 or $20 for a normal prescription, now we’re looking at something close to $200,” Caswell said.

Generic drug manufacturers say the price increases are due to a shortage in raw materials or a fewer number of manufacturers nationwide.

Caswell is a board member of the National Community Pharmacists Association, and is currently lobbying for further answers.

“We’re asking questions on why is this happening and what can we do to stop this so it doesn’t get any further,” he said.

He and others are concerned that should the trend continue, it could become a life-threatening situation for some.

“It would if the increase keeps going up, so I hope it doesn’t for everybody’s sake,” said Brenda Fry, Baxter Springs resident.

“I hope they can put a stop to this and bring it down to where people can live,” Olds said.

While those without insurance are seeing the greatest impact, others who do have insurance say they’re also seeing an increase in their co-pays, some as much as a $50 increase.

Caswell estimates insurance providers will also be impacted due to the higher amount of healthcare costs they now have to cover.

He leaves for his lobbying trip in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.