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  • Why are generic pain meds doubling, tripling in price?

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    Old 02-22-2014, 05:20 PM   #1
    Bilbo
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    Why are generic pain meds doubling, tripling in price?

    I have been on the same PM regiment for a year and a half. A year ago I was paying about $60 for my methadone and Norco. I am now paying $175/mo.

    The locally owned pharmacists blames the various governmental agencies who they say are trying to restrict the amount of these meds hitting the street. I can't find any news releases on this and I don't know what to do.

    I am disabled and on Medicare and when I got Medicare I was on my wifes insurance and they covered prescriptions. When I lost her insurance we looked at part D and it was a mess with the donut hole and some of my meds were notcovered. I know if I join now it wont be effective until Jan 1, 2015 and I will be hit with huge penalties.

    What do I do in the meantime? My total prescription cost is $220/mo which is over 20% of my SSDI. I am taking methadone and Norco, the two least expensive meds made!I also take an antidepressant and ambien and they have gone up. They are all generics. Is this just a big pharma money grab?

    I have tried to call around to get pricing on meds but no pharmacy will give that info out over the phone which is just ridiculous. What harm could giving me their pricing cause.My Dr. is clueless when it comes to why.

    Any advice? I have chronic pain from 2 car accidents that led to a 2 level neck fusion, 3 level lumbar fusion and a whole host of thoracic spine problems that can't be operated on and I have had every treatment, injection known to man. I am very troubled.
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    Old 02-23-2014, 10:49 AM   #2
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    Re: Why are generic pain meds doubling, tripling in price?

    Hi ...I am truly sorry that you are having all these issues with your meds (mainly prices, also the problems with part D). The only thing I can think of is go in person to a pharmacy like in a Walmart, I have seen them advertise $4 co-pays for generics, but of course I don't know if your meds are on their list. But it might be worth a try. Sometimes you can get an answer in person with your script or bottle in hand, that you can't get over the phone.
    I wish you the best and pray that you find a way to afford your meds! God bless you.

     
    Old 02-23-2014, 11:28 AM   #3
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    Re: Why are generic pain meds doubling, tripling in price?

    Sorry you are struggling. That is definitely bizarre they won't tell you the price over the phone. I've never had that problem, even with opiates, but I have heard of it. The only reason I have heard that they wouldn't want to give a price quote on opiates is that it would confirm that they have it in stock, and make them a target for thieves. If they won't quote meds that aren't controlled substances though (which even Ambien is, although its Schedule IV not II), then no clue.

    Did you say something like: "Good morning/afternoon. I'm considering switching pharmacies and need a price quote." Then they should ask for what. Then you'd say "Methadone Xmg, Quantity X."

    If you can find a cheaper cost at another pharmacy, you may not even have to switch. Often pharmacies will price match. You would just tell your pharmacy that X pharmacy told you their cost would only be $X for that medication. Then they call that pharmacy to verify, and give you a price match for a specified period of time.

    Lately though I called around about one medication my insurance doesn't cover me and was surprised to find very little variation in price. It too had doubled in cost in a short period of time. Sometimes there are big differences though. No, medications like Methadone, Norco, and Ambien are not on the $4 type list at any pharmacy.

    Is it the Methadone or Norco which is costing you more? Have your doses or quantities increased during this time? Agreed those are two of the cheapest pain meds though. However, I believe Norco may cost more than some other medications such as Morphine IR. It may be worth asking your doctor if it would be possible to switch the Norco to something cheaper, and what they would suggest. Then you can get the price quote and decide if you want to switch the next time you get your prescriptions.

    The price of medications is increasing quite fast. So are insurance annoyances. They seem to require a lot of prior authorizations and have quantity limits even on cheap generic meds. Big mess for the doctors, pharmacies, and patients. I needed a prior authorization and a quantity override last week on a medication that cost $28/month. Best wishes.
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    Old 02-23-2014, 11:46 AM   #4
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    Sorry you got caught

    In the Part D trap. I got D Enhanced immediately even though all Rx's currently generic. After reading your post, I went back to check the claimed amt on my meds. In the past 2 years my generic pain meds have gone up 100 to 150% (Norco +130% in 12 months). Other generics, most cardiovascular, were up over 50%.

    Like LBP suggests, take your Rx bottles into the pharmacies to ask. I have heard local friends complain about not being able to get phone quotes from chains. Before I had D coverage, I found my best generic prices at a small 5 city pharmacy group that located within two blocks of the area's small hospitals. With the exception of the limited generics specials list, their cash prices beat WM. So be sure to check the Mom n Pops pharms.

     
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