UMMC Pharmacist says generic drug prices have increased several - - Jackson, MS

UMMC Pharmacist says generic drug prices have increased several fold

That list of four dollar drugs at your local pharmacy is getting shorter. The problem is the radical rising costs for generic drugs. As a result, pharmacists say those four-dollar plans of generic prescription drugs are getting shorter and shorter.

Many of the drugs at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Pharmacy are generic, but that does not necessarily equate to lower prices. "Some medications have gone up in price, several fold. 

Doxycycline being one, where I could sell a prescription of that for four or five dollars for 20 of them, now it's going to costs about $50 for the same amount," said Dr. Buddy Ogletree, the coordinator of UMMC's Drug Information Center.

Another example is the generic drug for antidepressant Anafranil, which used to sell for 22 cents a pill. The price has jumped now to more than $8 a pill.  Dr. Ogletree says he's also seen staggering increases in some fungal creams and cholesterol lowering drugs.

A large part of the problem is blamed on lack of competition. "A medication that's been made by four manufacturers is now only being made by one. So, when there's not competition, the price can go up. It's a combination of things. But there's been quite an increase in prices of generic medications."

These soaring generic drug costs go against the grain of the generic industry, which was designed to help lower costs. 

Dr. Olgetree says the spikes in costs are being noticed especially by patients who pay cash. "Sometimes, they are used to a medication being on the low-cost list and now it's no longer on that list. Some people who are used to paying $4 or $5 for a prescription, now it's $30. $30, when they are budgeting for $5 can make a big difference."  These increases in generic drug prices are certainly not going unnoticed. Both the U-S Senate and the Justice Department have launched investigations.

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