A physician’s tale of irrational drug prices


We’ve all heard the outrage over the sudden rise in the price of the EpiPen. What we hear far less often is how common the sudden and dramatic rise in many other pharmaceutical prices has become in recent years. It can be easy to forget issues like this until they affect us personally. My own minor encounter with irrational drug price increases was a good reminder of how pervasive this problem is today. Here’s my story.

I have rosacea, a skin condition that affects about 16 million Americans’ noses and surrounding skin with redness from dilated small blood vessels. For many, it can be debilitating and of real concern with no clearly known cause or consistently effective treatment. While generally not too annoying for me, every six weeks or so it flares up. Years ago, a dermatologist prescribed tetracycline, an inexpensive generic that worked with no appreciable side effects. About a decade ago, doxycycline was prescribed in its place, another generic off-patent medication. Initially, it was also inexpensive, but over the years the price has consistently risen much faster than inflation. The last refill cost $68 for 30 pills.

About that same time, my doctor recommended trying metronidazole topical gel, another long-time generic. Although some people have good results, it did not work for me; however, to learn that it was not effective, I spent over $100 for a small tube.

To read more, see the full article on Medical Economics