What most people may or may not realize is that prescription drug prices are on the rise. According to the American Pharmacist Association, manufacturers increased the prices on 775 drugs in the first two weeks of 2024. I have seen the impact first hand, as I am a pharmacy technician at Walgreens. Every day that I work, I talk to customers who are not able to afford prescriptions that they need. Many question why the price is so high and all I can suggest is that they look for manufacturer coupon cards and talk to their doctor leaving both the customer and I feeling unsatisfied.

Medications such as Mounjaro, which is used for Type 2 diabetes; Eliquis, which treats blood clots; and Ozempic, which is also used to treat Type 2 diabetes. These three prescriptions have particularly stuck out to me, as I have often asked a patient if they know the price of a medication and then spent the next 5-10 minutes explaining to them that yes, the prescription has been run through insurance and no it will not get much cheaper as the year proceeds.

The National Library of Medicine summarizes that the reason these increased prices occur is because of the forming monopolies of drug companies. Prescription drugs, specifically for those with serious diseases, see the most impact with high prices. Theoretically, generic products should begin to come out after the patent expires for a name brand drug, but these drugs that are used for cancer or other such illnesses become “obsolete” before their patent is dead and the company then comes out with a new drug. Those with serious diseases are more likely to pay whatever the price is in order to prolong or save their life. Therefore, big drug companies such as NovoNordisk, Sanofi-Aventis, and Eli Lilly monopolize.

Pharmacies have been using cash coupon cards such as GoodRx or Single Care to reduce prices for patients. These coupon cards can be used in place of insurance and they will sometimes cover more of the prescription cost. They can be very effective ways to help patients afford most medications, but with name brand drugs such as the ones listed above, the coupon cards do not offer a significant amount of support. For instance, Eliquis at cash price is $682.99 and with a GoodRx card it is $615.93 at Walgreens. Mounjaro is $1,240 at cash price and with a Single Care card it is $994.91 at Walgreens.

As hard as it is to believe that people would spend that much money on medication, I have seen it. Little old ladies and young people alike spending hundreds of dollars on a medication every month.

This must come to an end, although we have an economy that is open to businesses and their increased growth we must put more regulations in place for large pharmaceutical companies. The government should decrease the amount of time patents are effective and try to approve generic products quicker so that they can be sold as an alternative choice for patients. This is a growing issue that needs to be resolved as soon as possible because it affects all U.S. citizens.

P.S. Do not forget to thank your local pharmacy staff and insurance representatives as hard as that may be.

Cassidy Peterson is a Haven freshman studying pre-pharmacy

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