Senate Investigating Drug Companies Behind Huge Overnight Price Hikes

Senate Investigating Drug Companies Behind Huge Overnight Price Hikes

A handful of pharmaceutical investors have been snapping up the rights to previously affordable prescription drugs, only to immediately raise prices to the point where patients now pay hundreds of dollars for a single pill — resulting in huge additional costs for consumers, insurers, and healthcare providers. Not only has this practice drawn the ire of the medical community, it’s also resulted in a Senate committee investigation. [More]

(Steven Depolo)

Pharma Biggie Hit With $125M Penalty For Illegal Kickbacks To Doctors, Falsified Insurance Forms

A subsidiary of multibillion-dollar international pharmaceuticals company Allergan has agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge of healthcare fraud and pay $125 million to close the books on criminal and civil liability claims tied to the subsidiary’s illegal marketing activities for seven different name-brand prescription drugs. [More]

(Eric Spiegel)

Sketchy 10% Of Doctors Are Writing More Than 50% Of Painkiller Prescriptions

While most doctors try to honor their oath to do no harm, some physicians just want to be paid (or are really, really, just horrible at their jobs). Take, for example, the 1-in-10 doctors responsible for writing the majority of painkiller prescriptions. [More]

Daraprim, whose price increased from $13.50/pill to more than $750/pill after being acquired by Turing Pharmaceuticals, is just one of the drugs being investigated by the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

Doctors Not Happy After Drug Goes From $13.50/Tablet To $750 Overnight

Gripe as we might, consumers understand that price increases do happen. What’s not as easily understood is how the price for something can go from $13.50 one day to $750 the next — especially when it’s a generic drug used to save lives. [More]

(Adam Gerard)

Prescription Price Sticker Shock Is Now A Common Consumer Ailment

Maybe this has happened to you: you’re at the pharmacy, picking up a refill of a prescription that you or a family member have been taking for a long time. It’s a routine errand until you get sticker shock: the copay has suddenly shot up. You didn’t change insurance, it’s still the same year, and the drug is the same: how can a price change so dramatically so quickly? [More]

CVS Must Pay $450K To Settle Claims That Pharmacies Filled Bogus Prescriptions

CVS Must Pay $450K To Settle Claims That Pharmacies Filled Bogus Prescriptions

CVS Health agreed to pay $450,000 to settle a years-long investigation by Rhode Island and the Drug Enforcement Administration that several of its locations filled forged and invalid painkiller prescriptions in violation of federal laws. [More]

Class-Action Suit Accuses CVS Of Overcharging Customers For Generic Drugs

Class-Action Suit Accuses CVS Of Overcharging Customers For Generic Drugs

The country’s second largest pharmacy chain is the latest party in a class-action lawsuit that accuses CVS of deliberately overcharging hundreds of thousands of patients for generic prescription drugs. [More]

(D O'Quinn)

FDA Approves First “Biosimilar” Drug. Could Drive Down Cost Of Most Expensive Medications

Biotech drugs — which are generally derived from a living organism, as opposed to traditional purely chemical medications — are currently among the most expensive medicines available. But today, the Food and Drug Administration issued its first approval of a drug that is “biosimilar” to an existing biotech medication; a development that could possibly result in billions of dollars in savings. [More]

Why Does A Tube Of Cold Sore Cream Cost $2,500?

Why Does A Tube Of Cold Sore Cream Cost $2,500?

In Canada, you can buy a tube of brand-name prescription cold sore cream Zovirax for around $50. Its generic equivalent (acyclovir) is half that price. And even here in the states you can find generics acyclovir pills and ointments for a reasonable price, so why does what is effectively the same product sell for more than $2,500 in the U.S.? [More]

FDA Warns: If Your “Low T” Is Just From Getting Older, Don’t Use Prescription Testosterone

FDA Warns: If Your “Low T” Is Just From Getting Older, Don’t Use Prescription Testosterone

In recent years, makers of prescription testosterone treatments like AndroGel began throwing around the term “Low T” in TV ads, blaming low levels of the hormone for various problems — sex drive, flagging energy, moodiness — that have long been associated with simply growing older. But the FDA is now acknowledging that these drugs pose “a possible increased risk of heart attack and stroke” and are warning against their use for the treatment of anything other than very specific medical conditions. [More]

From the federal indictment.

Pharmacy Linked To Deadly Meningitis Outbreak Allegedly Faked Prescriptions For “Filet O’Fish,” “Bud Weiser”

As part of a federal indictment against a Massachusetts pharmacy linked to a meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people, officials allege that employees of the company used some pretty suspicious names on faked prescriptions, including things like menu items — “Filet O’fish” and “Coco Puff” — as well as famous er, names like “Bud Weiser” and his pal, “Raymond Rollingrock.” [More]

The Oxford Prescription Drug List says that asthma drug Montelukast is an inexpensive Tier 1 drug, but makes no mention that it's pulverized form is a Tier 2 drug at twice the cost. (Click to enlarge)

We Live In A World Where Your Insurer Doesn’t Care That It Charges Two Prices For One Drug

In one month, the price of your generic prescription doubles. The first person at your insurance company says “Oops, that’s a mistake,” but a second person tells you that the mistake was actually made when you were charged the original, lower price. Meanwhile, the insurance company’s website tells you that the lower price is the correct one — and none of these people actually seem to give a damn. [More]

(Jason Gooljar)

GSK Theoretically Not Going To Pay Off Docs Anymore

Giant drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline announced today that it intends to stop paying doctors to prescribe more of the company’s drugs, a move that could possibly entice other large pharma companies to do the same. [More]

Why Does CVS Need A HIPAA Waiver To Count How Many Prescriptions You Fill?

Why Does CVS Need A HIPAA Waiver To Count How Many Prescriptions You Fill?

If you don’t mind trading your shopping history and personal data for free stuff or discounts, loyalty card programs offer some great benefits if you were going to be loyal to a business in the first place. The question is, how much of your privacy are you willing to give up for some discounts? [More]


Silly Me, Expecting My Mail-Order Pharmacy To Pay Attention To My Meds

Don’t expect your mail-order pharmacy to look out for you or for your health. That’s what reader Kathleen learned when her auto-refill prescription got auto-refilled, in spite of her new and exciting prescription for the same medication in a higher dose. Isn’t the point to having everything run by benevolent computers that they’re smarter than we are, and don’t make silly human errors? [More]


How To Save Money By Not Using Your Health Insurance

We’ve covered the topic of low-cost generic medicines in the past, helping a reader save more than $300 in out-of-pocket expenses every year by filling his prescriptions at a discount store and not using his health insurance. That’s just one person, though. Can this plan work for everyone? Our sibling publication Consumer Reports deployed their nationwide network of secret shoppers to find out. [More]

(Charles Williams)

CVS Pharmacy Tech Makes Up Laws, Demands Photo ID For Prescription Dropoff

Jeff takes the generic form of Adderall, a mild stimulant prescribed for Attention Deficit Disorder. His health insurance uses prescription benefit company Caremark, which CVS owns, so he can pick up the 90-day refills that normally would go through mail order at a retail CVS pharmacy. Yay, how convenient! Only he ran into a problem the last time he needed to get more pills. The pharmacy technician demanded photo ID in order to drop off his prescription. To pick up the bottle of 90 pills, sure: it’s a controlled substance. But to drop off the prescription? [More]

(Meg Marco)

Meijer Customer Service Saves The Day After Surgery

Amanda was exhausted, after dealing with her mother’s post-surgery care and bringing her home from the hospital. Neither of them anticipated that the biggest problem would that day be with getting her post-discharge prescriptions filled. One of the medications was more obscure than she had imagined. They visited three different pharmacies in their rural area and were ready to give up hope when they finally visited the pharmacy at the local Meijer. They had the drugs! For $250! Oh, no. [More]