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Cost of life-saving medications soar in price for consumers

Posted at 10:23 PM, Mar 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-02 14:37:56-05

Millions of Americans are feeling the pain as life-saving medications soar in price. Just this week, Congress signaled it may push legislation to help get those drug costs down, but until then, patients who need expensive medications, may be the ones who suffer the consequences.

Gloria Rickerd, and her husband David, learned he had an inoperable, and aggressive form of brain cancer about a year ago. As if the emotional toll of cancer treatment wasn't tough enough, the Rickerd family found the financial cost of prescription costs can be crippling.

The co-pay on one of her husband's pills is $400. Others have a co-pay of up to $1,000. "I would say that it is catastrophically out of whack," said Gloria Rickerd.

The director of health services research at AARP seems to echo Rickerd's sentiment. "People simply can't afford their prescription drugs," said Leigh Purvis. "There's nothing in the U.S. health care system that will stop drug manufacturers from setting really high prices, and then increasing them pretty much however they want."

On Tuesday, U.S. Senators met with seven of the pharmaceutical industry's top CEOs. They debated many topics, including the need to get more generics on the market.

The senators signaled they will get involved through legislation if industry leaders can't find a way to lower prescription drug costs.

Right now, there are a few ways you can cut cots.

Websites like GoodRx and RetailMeNot Rx Saver allow you to search prescriptions, compare costs by pharmacy and even get coupons. If available, experts suggest buying in bulk, or ask if there's a generic or alternative prescription drug available.

If you don't have health insurance, consider using prescription discount cards or programs like Arizona Prescription Assistance Programs, or Maricopa County's Prescription Discount Cards program. Both can be obtained whether you have insurance or not.