Beyond the EpiPen: Rising pharmaceutical prices

KUSA – There are about a hundred reasons to focus beyond the arguments over the EpiPen when it comes to rising pharmaceutical prices.

Embrel. Humalog. Humira. Methotrexate. Novalog.

We could go on.

Doxycycline. Halog. Cephalexin.

Tom Gierwatoski, a Colorado pharmacist, tells us sometimes the prices of certain drugs go up so quickly he wakes up to a host of new ones.

“I have patients who are having to make a choice between dinner or drugs. That’s the part I can’t stand,” Gierwatoski said.

And it’s hardly his fault.

“Somebody is getting rich, and it ain’t us,” he insists.

Over the course of the next few days, we’re going to explore what’s going on when it comes to the rising cost of pharmaceutical drugs.

We’ll start by telling you about the hundred drugs we’ve found that have increased by 70% in cost since 2012.

Thirty seven of the drugs on our list saw larger price increases than the EpiPen.

We’ll also show you the huge amounts of money drug companies are spending on lobbying and marketing.
Some of that money ends up in the hands of your member of Congress. We’ll show you how to find out how much.

Some of that money also ends up in the hands of your physician. We’ll show you where to find that information as well.

The information we’ve amassed is massive.

And much of it promises to be a tad complex.

Do you know, for example, what a pharmacy benefits manager is? By the end of the week, you will. It’ll probably change the way you look at this argument altogether.

Most importantly, we’ll offer you a way to let your own opinions be known as well. How much are drugs costing you? What drugs need to be added to our list?

What would you like to see done?

The problem itself is so vast it would be impossible for us to come up with one simple solution, but we promise to hold the people who could change the environment accountable.

When members of Congress tell us they’re angry about drug prices, we will ask them to prove it.

You deserve better. The nature of health insurance is changing quickly, and that means one day you’ll almost certainly start to feel some of these price increases in a very personal way.

Unless things change.

That’s why we started $IDE EFFECT$ in the first place.

You have a right to know what some of the unintended side effects of these drug price spikes are.

And you have the right to be able to protect yourself the next time a doctor prescribes a drug for you that just might be on our list.

So let’s start by explaining the basics of health insurance. It’ll help prepare you for the week that is to come.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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