According to Kelley Blue Book, the average price for a new light vehicle is $35,411. Even the lowest-priced new cars will usually run over $12,000. While that number may not be a surprise. Due to the high cost of some prescription drugs; many consumers are caught off guard when it’s time to pick up their prescriptions.
To make matters worse, some health insurance plans don’t help with the cost.
The High Cost of Some Prescription Drugs
Tier one medications, typically name-brand drugs that manufacturers push through marketing campaigns, are often more expensive. In 2016, $5.6 billion was spent on prescription drug advertising, trying to convince consumers to ask their doctors about specific medications. These ads usually don’t discuss the cost of the drugs and selecting the wrong one could hit your wallet hard.
Actimmune is for the treatment of chronic granulomatous disease, a rare condition that impacts the immune system, and severe, malignant osteopetrosis .
Most patients need 12 vials a month, and Actimmune costs $4,360 per vial. That brings the monthly total to $52,321. If you use it for a year at that rate, your annual cost is a stunning $627,852. With various discounts and rebates and patient compliance, the cost can be lowered an average of $24,000 per month or $288,000 per year.
Both those with AIDS and transplant patient may use Daraprim, as well as those battling with toxoplasmosis. Typically, people use the medication for a few months.
A single one-month supply, consisting of 60 tablets, costs $45,000, or around $750 a pill.
A treatment for the rare, life-threatening condition hereditary angioedema, which causes swelling in various body parts, Cinryze costs around $44,140 for a typical one-month supply. Over the course of a year, that comes out to $529,680.
While a generic of Chenodal could technically be created, since the patent has expired, the “closed distribution system” has prevented generic manufacturers from producing the medication.
A typical 90 pill monthly supply of the gallstone dissolving drug usually runs about $473 per tablet or $42,570 in total. However, some patients need 210 tablets a month, and that runs $99,330.
A medication for treating leptin deficiencies in those with generalized lipodystrophy, Myalept costs approximately $4,213 per vial. If you use the standard 10 vials a month, that’s $42,137.
Myalept is also the only medication available for treating the condition, so those who suffer it have no other options for finding cost savings.
6. H.P. Acthar
Also called Acthar, H.P. Acthar is an approved treatment for multiple conditions including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, certain ophthalmic conditions, and more. One vial of the medication has a price tag of around $38,892.
A 28 capsule supply runs about $36,992, or $1,321 per dose. The medication treats those with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic condition that can lead to heart disease.
Another treatment for hereditary angioedema, though using a different approach, Firazyr costs around $32,468 a month, or over $10,822 per syringe.
Harvoni treats Hepatitis C, a condition with notoriously high treatment costs, is widely advertised on television. It is the first combination drug, which needs to be taken once per day, in the treatment category, and a 12-week course of the medication is common.
28 tablets of Harvoni cost $31,500, or $1,125 per tablet. Over 12 weeks that brings the total to $94,500.
Cuprimine is proof that even older medications can cost a bundle. It was invented in the 1970s, but still costs over $261 per tablet today. In fact, the high price tag is so controversial, that it debates in Congress have occurred and an episode of Dirty Money, a Netflix show, covered the topic.
A treatment for Wilson’s disease, those taking the drug usually go through three tablets per day, one after every meal. That brings the monthly cost up to $31,426.
Another Hepatitis C treatment that usually requires a 12-week course is Sovaldi. At $1,000 per tablet, a month’s supply is around $28,000. For a full course of treatment, that comes out to $84,000.
Would Your Insurance Cover Some of the Cost?
Whether an insurance company will cover some of the costs of any prescription varies dramatically. If your doctor recommends any of the medications above, it’s wise to contact your insurer to discuss your coverage.
Additionally, asking your physician for information about alternatives can also result in cost savings, depending on your condition or the availability of generics.
In some cases, lower cost options may not be available, or your insurance might not provide coverage. In those cases, you need to discuss your situation with your doctor. They may be aware of programs that can help offset some of the expense, though that isn’t a guarantee.
Often, when a physician prescribes a medication, there is sound reasoning behind it. While shouldering these high costs could be scary, if your health is at risk, you may need to follow your doctor’s advice.
Have you ever been startled by the high cost of some prescription drugs? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
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