Beware: Price Spikes For Prescription Drugs

 In Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance, Insurance Billing, Patient Education

It’s always a struggle to stay on top of healthcare updates and issues. However, according to an article posted in the Washington Times, “The Senate announced a bipartisan investigation Wednesday into potential price gouging on prescription drugs after a speculator bought the patent for an AIDS treatment and announced he was hiking the price more than 5,000 percent.” As if consumers didn’t have enough to worry about, this concern could have disastrous affects for prescription users. Now, with potential, skyrocketing prices for critical prescription drugs affecting millions of Americans, a portion affected by HIV, and also pregnant women, what is a nation tired of inflation and changing healthcare reform to do?

In a related article by the New York Times, it reported, “Overall, prescription drugs have been on the rise for years.” In a letter written to Rodelis Pharmaceutical Company, Senators addressed their current concerns. “From 2008 through 2014 average prices for the most widely used brand-name drugs jumped 128 percent, according to the benefit manager Express Scripts Holding.”
The Senate Committee panel will launch an investigation into drug players Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX), Turing Pharmaceuticals, Retrophin (RTRX) and Rodelis Therapeutics Valeant to evaluate business dealings and distribution. It does make one wonder how much trust companies which elicit huge spikes in drug prices can concern themselves with the overall well-being of their patients. The committee also addressed the issue concerning no connection to price spiking due to further research or development on the specific prescription drugs manufactured by these big companies. “The sudden, aggressive price hikes for a variety of drugs used widely for decades affect patients and health care providers and the overall cost of health care,” said committee chair Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in a statement announcing the investigation,” according to the New York Times article.

Everyday Consumers Affected

Until a decision is made, it’s safe to say that rising drug prices, thanks to industry monopolistic companies are here to stay, for now. Healthcare professionals encourage patients to understand their insurance policies and educate themselves on what is and isn’t covered under current plans. Doctors also suggest looking into generic versions of necessary prescription drugs to balance the costs. Another suggested tip by healthcare professionals, is to come in for regular check-ups and a possible reevaluation to determine if certain patients are able to drop their current prescriptions. Due to increased exercise, healthy choices, clean eating, and improved lifestyle changes, some patients could benefit from dropping their current prescriptions. While this may not be feasible for ailing patients and others with chronic illnesses, it’s worth a shot, doctors suggest.

Responsible Action

So, while lawyers and politicians battle it out for pertinent information and dusty documentation filed away in pharmaceutical warehouses, the rest of us consumers are here, humbly awaiting a positive change in prescription prices. It’s important to note, more than ever, to become aware of health care options and policies. While healthcare is always a tiered issue, involved with many players, the best course of action for consumers is to educate themselves. Almost as if medical jargon, prescription ingredients, and lengthy insurance policies are an unbreakable code, it’s time the everyday consumer fought back. There are online forums, groups, and organizations which band together to bring major issues to light to the healthcare players sometimes sworn to protect our well being and best interests.

And of course, Amazing Healthcare Consultants are here to help.

Carol Gordon DeVore, M.D.

Carol Gordon DeVore, M.D.

Founder & Patient Advocate at Amazing Healthcare Consultants
Twenty nine years as a physician have brought me great personal and professional satisfaction, but a new passion has driven me to change directions within the healthcare system. I'm acutely aware of the confusion and frustration that patients face as they navigate the healthcare "maze" and look forward to helping patients in many new ways as a private healthcare advocate.
Carol Gordon DeVore, M.D.

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