Local pharmacies, patients grapple with prescription price surge

Published: Updated:
MGN Online

FORT MYERS, Fla.- Unexpected price increases for many prescription drugs in the past year has lead to a backlash from Washington lawmakers and drawn frustration from local patients and pharmacists.

Some drugs have increased as much as 8,000 percent in the past year and now U.S. Senators are investigating the trend.

Pharmacies and patients in Southwest Florida have been noticing the price surge and say they are not sure when things will peak.

“We’ve seen drugs that have gone up 25 or 30 percent, and others that have gone up in the hundreds of percent, even 15-hundred percent,” said The Prescription Shop pharmacist Richard Lawrence. “Those drugs that were common drugs, that used to cost me $10 a bottle to buy, now cost me $150 to $200 dollars a bottle to buy.”

Experts say drug ingredient shortages, industry consolidation and production slowdowns are to blame for the increase in price for generic medications.

The surge is not good for the pharmacy business. Local drug stores hit by the price surge are losing money, pharmacists said.

Pharmacies are often reimbursed for drugs by insurance companies that have not changed the amount they reimburse drug stores since the increases started.

“So until the insurance companies agree to raise their reimbursement rates for us, we’re losing money on prescriptions often,” said Lawrence. “It happens a lot.”

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