Q. Has anyone done some investigative journalism to expose why several generic medication prices have skyrocketed? My clobetasol ointment has gone up 300 percent over the last year.
My understanding is that there has been consolidation of companies that manufacture generics. The supply chain appears to be getting narrower. Higher prices are squeezing many insurance programs as well as individuals.
A. You have identified a growing concern related to the pharmaceutical industry. Generic drugs are supposed to be affordable, but over the last few years we have seen extraordinary price jumps for some very old medications.
Digoxin Prices Skyrocket
Digoxin is a heart drug that was first sold in 1939. Last year one person purchased a three-month supply for $12. Today the same generic digoxin is $99.99 at a major pharmacy chain.
That is just the tip of the iceberg. Other generic drugs that have skyrocketed include the antibiotic doxycycline and the injectable heart medicine nitroprusside.
An article in The New England Journal of Medicine (Nov. 13, 2014) documented a 2800 percent increase in the blood pressure drug captopril between 2012 and 2013. It appears that consolidation of generic manufacturers is in large part responsible for decreased competition and higher prices.