A friend writes:
“The price of my medication, Losartan for high blood pressure, jumped last month.
“I take the 100 mg size. It went from $13 a month to $63 a month on my insurance, via Cigna. The medication is a generic for Benicar, so I was surprised at the price jump.
“They told me at the drugstore that it was the Insurance company who raised the price.
“I called my insurer and they said that it was the drug manufacturer who raised the price….
“I looked around to find what happened and where I could get it cheaper. A friend told me I could get it for under $13 at Costco, but there’s not a Costco near me in Brooklyn.
“All the pharmacies near me were in the same price range.
“I checked on GoodRx at her suggestion, but couldn’t find a better price near me.
“So I went ahead and bought it at $63 a month.”
So how much does Losartan cost?
The next month, she asked about the price again. She went on GoodRx and found this medication for $22.80-$26.25 in my neighborhood. (See screenshot).
Drugs.com, the first citation on the web, has it for about $1 a pill.
And finally, the next month, she wrote: “The price mysteriously dropped back down to $12 a month.”
We tried to research the reasons for such a price increase, but we are aware that these things happen regularly. Here’s the ace reporter Charlie Ornstein writing about how random the pricing for a prescription was for his family.
Here’s an article about contaminated blood pressure medications, including Losartan, from January 2019, which speaks about how the problem with contaminated drugs had a ripple effect among other manufacturers who raised their prices. “Drug companies recalled hundreds of lots of the blood pressure and heart medications valsartan, losartan and irbesartan after testing revealed the drugs had trace amounts of the probable carcinogen N-Nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA.”
If you are looking for ways to save money on medications, try our page on how to save money on prescriptions.
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 ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.