pills and prescription bottle on twenty dollar bills

Summary: Rising generic drug prices have been a topic of discussion here for some time. But now, they’ve set off a congressional investigation, according to a congressional press release.



“BURLINGTON, Vt., Oct. 2 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) today launched an investigation into soaring generic drug prices, according to a press release on Sanders’s site.

“ ‘We are conducting an investigation into the recent staggering price increases for generic drugs used to treat everything from common medical conditions to life-threatening illnesses,’ Sanders, chairman of a Senate health care subcommittee, and Cummings, ranking member of the House oversight committee, wrote in letters to 14 pharmaceutical companies.

“They pointed, for example, to the price hike for Albuterol Sulfate used to treat asthma and other lung conditions. The average cost for a bottle of 100 pills was $11 last October. The average charge by this April had shot up to $434. An antibiotic, Doxycycline Hyclate, cost $20 last October for a bottle of 500 tablets. By April, the price was $1,849.

“The price data on those and other generic drugs came from the private Washington, D.C.-based Healthcare Supply Chain Association. It surveyed average prices paid by organizations that help hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies negotiate with pharmaceutical companies and other vendors for discounts. The figures are akin to wholesale prices, not the amount patients are charged.” via Congress Investigating Why Generic Drug Prices Are Skyrocketing – Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

We’ve talked about this problem before, but it seems to have changed. Here’s an older report on the topic. Are generics always cheaper? No. Listen to our friend Leslie Ramirez from leslieslist.org. Also, here’s our page of resources on prescription pricing.

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Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...