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Getting around high prescription prices

By Charlotte Ames | cames@wtajtv.com
Published 05/09 2016 10:04AM
Updated 05/09 2016 10:51AM

Altoona, Blair County, Pa.

A  recent AARP survey shows the price of hundreds of the most commonly used prescription drugs increasing at 6  times the rate of inflation and even the cost of some generics, which account for most prescriptions, are rising at record rates. Some patients pay more than $10,000  a year for just one medication.

Debi DeLay has diabetes, lupus, asthma, COPD, vertigo and fibromyalgia. But she doesn’t take all of her medications.

“I can’t afford them and I can’t get them any other way,” she says, “so it’s always a choice which do I need worse, what’s hurting worse, what do I need this month, what can I handle without.”

She needs 3 diabetes drugs to stay alive, but that therapy’s  almost unreachable for her and other patients without insurance.

“I don’t think most people can afford insulin,” says Pete Kreckel, a pharmacist at Thompson’s Pharmacy in Altoona.

He explains that  most diabetic patients on insulin, need two types of  the drug,  One costs about $450,  the other around $500. Kreckel says, “it’s not at all inconceivable that a patient would have to pay close to a thousand dollars a month for insulin.”

Dr. Zane Gates, who runs the Empower 3 Center for Health says, “with 20 percent of prescriptions being left in pharmacies there’s a lot of people dying unnecessarily because of cost which is a doggone shame in our country.”

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