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Consumers ‘Held Hostage’ By Soaring Drug Prices

posted by Alicia Caramenico

on August 14, 2015

Exorbitant prescription drug prices are hitting patients hard, forcing most to cut back on household expenses like food so they can afford their medications. Those are the results of a new survey from Consumer Reports, which also found that rising drug prices are inhibiting patients’ ability to pay for other medical care.

The survey findings were chronicled in a NBC Nightly News report titled “Rising Prescription Drug Costs Stirs Consumer Outrage.” In it, “fed up” consumers and pharmacists express their growing anger over soaring prices for prescription drugs.

Consumer Reports and NBC Nightly News called out some ridiculous price hikes, including a 17,711 percent jump in the wholesale price of antibiotic tetracycline over one year, and a 900 percent increase in the wholesale price of diabetes drug Glumextza over six months. With such outrageous markups, it’s no surprise one patient told NBC Nightly News she feels “held hostage” to egregious pharmaceutical prices.

As we’ve said before, six-figure price tags for some medical treatments show the issue is price not coverage. Health plans offer comprehensive coverage of prescription drugs and limits on cost-sharing that protect consumers from such sky-high prices. For example, a patient who chooses to take Harvoni to treat hepatitis C would pay about 6 percent of the total $95,000 cost – with the health plan paying the remaining 94 percent under a standard silver plan.

With such consumer protections in place, health plans are committed to making sure patients can access and afford the coverage and care they need – when they need it most.