Skip to main content

This is a short diary because I am in shock.

Yesterday I refilled two of my prescriptions ...  Levemir Flex-Pen and Novalog Flex-Pen.  Both are insulin and I have been taking them since 2007.  Since I am not yet 65 and have had no insurance since January 2008 and no longer qualify for charity meds and hated the begging for drugs process, I have been paying for them out of pocket (mostly, although I do have the Walgreen card which saves me a little bit on scripts).

When I went to pick up my scripts, I found out that the Novlog had gone from about $250 to $329 since I bought it last about 2 months ago. Since I had started buying it, it had gradually been going up, $10 here, $20 there but $80 in a single bound was a rather stiff jump.

I understand the need for profit and for research dollars, but I don't understand how the price for an established medicine goes up so much so suddenly. Is this a new way to undermine the establishment of the new health care law (I don't like "Obamacare" and can't ever remember the acronym) or a way of killing off indigent sick people?

I imagine that for people that have other diseases and take super expensive drugs, this might be small potatoes but it was not for me. Still, it seems rather odd that a well established drug that has not had any changes in formula, delivery system or even the design of the box should increase in price so seemingly arbitrarily and suddenly.

The good news is that I turn 65 in October and will have medical and drug coverage again. The bad news is that I fear all drugs will increase in price until those of us on the edge will fall completely off.

Thanks for letting me vent ... I am still not over the sticker shock.

UPDATE

The mystery has been solved thanks to etbnc who linked me to this story U.S. Insulin Prices Rise as Sanofi, Novo Nordisk Await Rivals in BloombergBusinessWeek.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

    by CorinaR on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 08:12:28 AM PDT

  •  I've found Walmart cheapest for other drugs (4+ / 0-)

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 08:21:28 AM PDT

    •  I checked this out (5+ / 0-)

      Walgreens was cheaper and nicer

      "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

      by CorinaR on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 08:27:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cheap, maybe, but why feed that beast? Surely (4+ / 0-)

      we can raise the money to help  spare whatever it takes to shop at a decent place that pays better wages and does better by their employees?

      I say f*ck shopping at Walmart.  For any reason.  

      Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

      by divineorder on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 09:36:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This too (3+ / 0-)

        I pay ore to shop at other places ... but in my little town, Walgreens is cheaper. And treats its employees a little better.

        "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

        by CorinaR on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 09:59:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  that's just a rich people meme, snobs (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        misslegalbeagle

        people who like to go shopping. My Walgreens pays the same.

        You're free to f*ck whatever you like.

        “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

        by ban nock on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 11:23:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  When it comes to your health... (4+ / 0-)

        ...And for many, taking insulin is a life-or-death thing, if shopping at walmart for your drugs lets you buy drugs -and- shelter -and- heat -and- food, well, there's not much of a choice there.  If you're on a fixed income and you can get a $300 drug for $40 less there, well, the choice is a no-brainer.

        I advocate avoiding wal-mart as much as possible, but I acknowledge that some people don't have the choice but to shop there.

        •  too true (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Praxical, FloridaSNMOM, chimene

          for me, it works out cheaper to buy it at Walgreens.  Not much better than Walmart but some, at least in my little bit of Oklahoma.

          But it just angers and frustrates me that companies can play rough and tumble with the prices of drugs just to make a huge profit, not a reasonable one but a big one.  Did you get a chance to read the link in my update.  The companies upped the prices just to get as much money before the generics kick in.

          I want Star Trek medicine right now.

          "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

          by CorinaR on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 02:06:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yep. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FloridaSNMOM, CorinaR, Joy of Fishes

            And there's really no reason this should be allowed.  They keep quoting 'research', but nowadays most really-new drugs seem to come out of publicly-funded research by universities and such; practically all 'new' drugs fall into one of two categories:

            1: Someone finds out a drug works better in combination with another drug, and combines the two in a single pill.  For example, Percoset is merely two old drugs -- oxycodone and tylenol.  Vicodin is merely codine and tylenol.  While these drugs actually do tend to do the job better than the single drug alone, it's rather bullshit that combining an old drug with another, often OTC drug, gets a new patent.

            2: They take an old drug and chemically modify it in a way that doesn't destroy its efficacy.  Replace a chlorine atom with a bromine atom, for example.  Practically all of the currently-patented drugs on the market are just old drugs that've been slightly modified.  In many cases, they don't work as well as the old drug, or have more side effects.  But they're the hot new thing, so they must be better, and when you combine this with the massive marketing and advertising campaigns aimed at doctors and patients (IIRC, the US and Australia are the ONLY countries that allow prescription medication to be marketed to consumers) people get them prescribed.

  •  Check out Cosco. /nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, Most Awesome Nana

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 08:22:42 AM PDT

  •  How? Because it Can. (5+ / 0-)

    And the Republican ads will be telling this story constantly for the next 4 years.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 08:28:25 AM PDT

  •  Pure, savage greed, that's all. (5+ / 0-)

    You can lower the cost a bit if you're willing to get the insulin in bottles and draw it up into syringes yourself. A bit less convenient, but typically it'll be something like 20-30% cheaper per unit.

    •  Guess we are captive buyers (3+ / 0-)

      and so they get away with things like this.  

      There are reasons why flex pens are better ... shaky hands and poor eyesight among them. But I was more in sticker shock and grateful that I will be somewhat insulated from it when I start having Medicare ... I just wonder how much the "somewhat insulated" will turn out.

      "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

      by CorinaR on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 08:50:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not as much as you might think. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloridaSNMOM

        I am on high blood pressure and thyroid meds - all generics - which I had been getting for $18/month from Rite-Aid. That was the total cost for three prescriptions if I filled 90 days at once ($54 total).

        Now that I am on Medicare, I could get them for $15/month but would have to use a mail order formulary. Again, for a 90 day amount ($45).

        The Rite-Aid cost stays the same even though I am on Medicare because the drugs I take are in Rite-Aids special generics program - so even with insurance, that won't be a saving. I choose to pay the difference because I like having a relationship with a local druggist (would prefer a small drug store but there isn't one for many miles).  And seriously, $9 won't break me.

        Should I ever need more expensive drugs, I might have to rethink. But I know I would NEVER go to Walmart.

        "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

        by Most Awesome Nana on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 12:01:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You busted my bubble! lol (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM

          I have looked at the drug programs for Medicare and they seem to be a little cheaper until you get to the donut hole and then it is horrendous.  

          I'll see what happens. But I hope things will even out and the differences will work in my favor.

          "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

          by CorinaR on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 12:20:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  doubt they raised the price for political reasons (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CorinaR, Aunt Pat

    most likely, it is because they don't believe that the price increase will decrease their sales enough to affect their profit.

    It is also possible that costs have increased somewhere along the supply chain, but the profit motive is still part of the decision.

  •  I had this sort of thing happen to me once. (6+ / 0-)

    In my case it was pure price fixing. I used to take Provigil. I have severe fatigue and it's usually prescribed for Narcolepsy, and I've found it helps significantly with the fatigue, with a positive side effect of helping with depression. My drug copay for a name brand drug is already sky high, currently $38. I was slogging along, taking half pills and not getting refills on time, only taking it on days when the fatigue was really bad in order to finally get to the point that it was cleared for generic so my copay would drop to $14.

    They delayed the generic release for a year past when they said it was going to happen. I waited and waited. FINALLY, I got a script to fill and asked for generic. I came to pick it up, and they told me the copay would be $190!!! I refused it, and went home to research why.

    It appears that the makers of Provigil (generic Modafinil), Teva, came out with a new drug to replace the Provigil. It's called Nuvigil (generic name Armodafinil). That's fine, drug companies do that all the time. However, Teva decided they wanted their patients to buy into the new drug, so what did they do? They RAISED the price of Provigil from about $250/30 to $1950/30! My insurance will only pay up to $500. After that, the copay goes to $75. Once it hits $1000 the copay is 10%. So, they have effectively priced me out of the generic, and forced me to either pay out the nose, or buy their new drug at the usual $38 copay that I couldn't afford to begin with.

    Fuck em. I won't take it now. At all. I'll just take naps. I know you aren't in a position that you can just give it up, I'm lucky in that respect. I even filed a complaint with the FTC, but nothing has come of it.

    I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

    by second gen on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 09:14:35 AM PDT

    •  Incredible (5+ / 0-)

      that they can get away with things like this. They do get you any way they can.

      Do the naps work? How much do they interfere with your "regular life"?  I am very careful about how eating and activity levels to help with the amount of insulin I need, but it is a drag to always have to balance things out because of the cost of the meds.

      "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

      by CorinaR on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 09:41:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Naps help, but I'm on disability now, so (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CorinaR, FloridaSNMOM

        I can, for the most part, do so if I need to. They're not always refreshing. I often wake up just as dragged out as before, just not having gotten anything done.  

        I would think it would be illegal to jack up the price of a generic 100% what it was as a name brand, but who knows.

        I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

        by second gen on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 01:18:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  News article about insulin price increase (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CorinaR, Aunt Pat, BachFan, FG, FloridaSNMOM

    ----
    This space intentionally left blank.

    by etbnc on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 09:28:28 AM PDT

  •  My brother saves by buying from Canada online (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CorinaR, Aunt Pat, MRA NY, FloridaSNMOM

    You need to send them your prescription.

    I know you don't need this, as you said upthread you'll soon have medicare. But other readers might like the suggestion.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 10:08:19 AM PDT

    •  Really ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, Brecht, MRA NY, FloridaSNMOM

      How does this work?  It would have been wonderful information for me several years ago and useful for other people now. Sometimes I get caught in doing what I know don't think outside the box.

      "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

      by CorinaR on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 10:16:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd have to ask him, to be sure of the details (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MRA NY, FloridaSNMOM

        I think he just googled for a provider with good prices and reputation, then had to fax them a prescription ( and fill out a form, and give credit card info. Perhaps they have paypal). Then they mailed him his meds.

        If you just do some research, and see what people online say about the pharmacy you use, it seems safe enough.

        He said it was far cheaper.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 11:16:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •   I have always known people (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brecht, FloridaSNMOM

          that go down to Mexico to get meds or see the dentist or the doctor, even to have surgery.  Some even go to buy groceries.  But because I have usually live closer to the Mexican border than to Canada, I never even thought of going north instead of south.

          The net can be your friend even if NSA is listening in on all you deepest, darkest secrets ... not to mention advertisers.

          "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

          by CorinaR on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 11:22:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My aunt lives five miles from Mexico, so half her (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CorinaR, FloridaSNMOM

            town used to cross the border for dental work, etc. But now the drugs and violence are pretty out of hand in the Rio Grande Valley.

            Canada feels safer, for sure. And it's nice to have your meds mailed to your door.

            "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

            by Brecht on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 11:30:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hmmm (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FloridaSNMOM, Brecht

              What part of the Rio Grande Valley? I grew up in Harlingen and partied my way through college going to the clubs in Reynosa and Nuevo Progreso, backing dark ages, many eons ago.

              "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

              by CorinaR on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 12:04:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  She lives in Weslaco, so Nuevo Progreso is (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CorinaR

                the town with the cheap dentists.

                We used to go over there and wander around the shops full of tourist knick-knacks, then go to Arturo's for lunch. But it's been awhile.

                "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                by Brecht on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 05:37:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Too funny (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Brecht

                  The world is a small place.

                  "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

                  by CorinaR on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 06:37:51 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  I came across this nationwide program of county (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CorinaR, Aunt Pat, FloridaSNMOM

    discount  prescription cards (when trying to find some health care for myself!):

    http://www.nacorx.org/...

    not sure if it will provide a bigger discount than your walgreens card, but worth checking out

    "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

    by MRA NY on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 10:29:05 AM PDT

  •  When I was in the hospital last week (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CorinaR, chimene

    they gave me this nifty "county prescription discount program card" which is supposed to save you 80% on all prescriptions. Took it the the pharmacy, she ran it through.. and the prescriptions were exactly the same cost as I had been paying without it. I still have one inhaler on hold waiting for my 'temporary medicaid card' to come through for the month. I checked this afternoon, no sign of it yet. If I'm lucky I'll have it before the 30th so I can actually get the inhaler. I did buy the prednisone and the neb treatments, those came to $33. But I didn't have the $54 for the emergency inhaler. I didn't even try for the Symbicort or the Tessilon, those are up in the hundreds. If I can get in the clinic I may be able to get those through there.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 03:17:34 PM PDT

    •  Like the Little Match Girl (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, chimene

      We can see things through the window but cannot get them. It is wrong to make medicine for profit but that is what seems to be here to stay.

      Single payer is the only way to go.

      I hope you can get to the clinic and get your meds. Keeping you in my thoughts, FloridaSNMOM.

      "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

      by CorinaR on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 03:26:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks Corina (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CorinaR, chimene

        I'm glad you were able to get yours. Neither of our conditions is something we can go without for too long with. And they're not something you can 'just go to the ER" and get treated for, not and function on a daily basis.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 03:37:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Corina - Start your Plan D shopping now (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CorinaR, FloridaSNMOM

        Of all the Medicare decisions the Plan D selection is the most complex and confusing. As someone who has a chronic condition, that requires daily medications, be sure to give yourself lots of time to select the plan that offers the best prices and convenience for the drugs you need.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 03:45:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM, VClib

          I have been looking at them but my head starts swimming with all the information or lack there of ... so I have been looking at things for the last 2 months.  I have given myself until the end of this month to make up my mind and do the "paperwork" that needs to be done.

          "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

          by CorinaR on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 04:07:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site