The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

And more on price gouging

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 6:23 pm on Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I wrote a piece recently about the ridiculous price increase of Glumetza. I haven’t received as many comments on a post since my oxycontin/oxycodone error rx of a couple of years ago.  I am glad that people are angry about this and I hope it trickles into a flood of inquiries as to the reason for this abomination.

What isn’t so noted is the other price increases that we have experienced in recent years.  Lets go over a few.  1. Tetracycline.  So this is a drug that was so cheap at one time, that I think I bought it for about 2 bucks/100.   Used almost exclusively for acne, it was a cheap drug for teens to take for their faces.  It disappeared for awhile only to reappear about a year or so later at a cost of nearly 1000.00 a bottle of 100.  Did anything change? no.  Just the cost.

2.  Doxycycline Hyclate: Same story different drug.  Thankfully monohydrate is less expensive and we have used it as an auto sub with permission from most doctors once they got wind that hyclate went thru the roof.

3. Digoxin.  Another drug that was under $10 per hundred is nearly 250.00 COST for same amount.  Its an abomination and nearly impossible to explain away.

4. Epi-Pen.  Several years ago my church wanted an epipen for their emergency kit.  The doctor bought on at the normal rate (at the time) for about 72.00 for the twin pack.  Today that same twin pack is rounding out at over 500.00.  Seriously?  When a person gets a copay back for over 150.00 they have a serious decision to make. Take it and be 150.00 more in the poorhouse or take the risk and leave it behind.  I always send them to the mfr website to get some loyalty coupon.  Might as well stiff the company.  they are ripping us off. Its a travesty to charge so much money for an item that 99% of the time outdates and is thrown away.  Its one of the few medical items that is made for the sole purpose of hoping to never use!

5. Clobetasol.  What used to be about 7 bucks for 15grams is now rounding out at bout 150.00 per 15 grams.  I quit making a compound a while back when the ingredient  copay to the pt was over 120.00 because the clobetasol was being included at current market value. They looked at me as if I was the person ripping them off.

Its not right. Its not fair..its the American way apparently.


Comment by WarmSocks

November 12, 2015 @ 7:15 pm

My insurance company moved Restasis to tier 3. Those are expensive eye drops!yes, yes they are…

Comment by Loren Pechtel

November 14, 2015 @ 10:40 am

I think the loyalty coupons are part of the game–ramp up the price, use the coupons to deal with the high copay so the insurance company is the one that ends up footing the bill.Loyalty coupons do not help and they coerce the insurance company to pay for part of the bill since they are often ” copay” cards. they pay nothing unless the insurance companies pay SOMETHING.

Comment by Jade

December 4, 2015 @ 9:08 pm

I’m sure insurance companies lose no money on any deal because they’re like stock brokers negotiating one price per volume for another deal. If you look at the fine print on some of those cards, you’ll see they’re often affiliated with pharmacy benefits management (PBM) companies like Catamaran. They do provide drug cost discount legally to individuals that use them, but in a way that shortchanges the whole pharmacy arena. Generally people don’t feel too badly about shortchanging an invisible or faceless ‘mega-chain’ pharmacy company. The key to the ‘discount’ card is that it is offered free to everyone, and everyone is encouraged to pass its use along to family, friends, mailmen, the barber, etc. so that EVERYONE has these cards. Then, Catamaran and other PBMs can use the leverage of volume usage to the drug companies that pay the pharmacies at rockbottom negotiated (price-gouging reimbursement) take-it-or-leave it prices, so that PBMs have their hand at the tiller in driving drug prices up.

It’s the newer capitalist version of the story from a time when a lot of smaller pharmacies closed in the late 80s early 90s as Medicare/Medicaid could not provide decent reimbursement to the pharmacies that
filled prescriptions for cardholders.

All based entirely on business decisions and run by bank executives, speculators, stockbrokers. The pharmacists involved are in-name only. The data they collect is to see where they can drive the higher prices or where they can ‘manufacture a shortage’. That’s why hedge fund managers get in on the pharmaceuticals market. It’s lucrative and they can do the kickbacks and scramble how politicians think so badly that it becomes anti-American to question the motive of a capitalist country.

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