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Price of prescription pills are on the rise

By Nadine Maeser, nmaeser@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jun 28 2013 05:34:11 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 28 2013 08:08:04 PM EDT

In tonight's Hometown Dollars and Sense, WDBJ 7's Nadine Maeser is here to tell us what's driving up the prices.

ROANOKE, Va. -

The prices of many prescription drugs are on the rise and a number of things are to blame, including Obamacare.

In the more than 50 years Larry Hill has been filling prescriptions at Crouch's Pharmacy off of Williamson Road, he's never seen pill prices quite like this.

"I couldn't believe it,” he said. “I couldn't believe it I said there's no way this could happen."

Hill said when it comes to generic drugs, there's been more price increases in the past year than there's been in the past 12 years.

"They're robbing people honestly,” said Hill. “That should be against the law."

Some pharmaceutical companies said Obamacare is to blame.

Beginning January 1, 2014, drug companies will be forced to freeze prices. Many believe they're raising prices while they still can.

Hill said he's already seeing it with one bottle of medication he supplies.

"It was $24.32, I believe and it went up to $800."

Hill said it’s a medication called Clomipramine, which is the generic for Anafranil. It is an anti-depressant used to treat compulsive disorders.

Local economists said this is only the beginning.

Medicaid, new taxes on prescriptions and tighter regulations on the pharmaceutical companies are all driving up the prices.

In the end, pharmacies could take an even bigger hit if they choose to not buy the medication.

"If some of your customers have to have those brand name drugs, you may lose them as customers which could hurt your bottom line even more," said economist and Roanoke College professor Dr. Alice Kassens.

It would not only leave patients without their medication, but also pharmacies without any income.

"I think it's going to be very difficult to make ends meet, potentially long term, we may see a lot of these folks going out of business," she said.

Many said the pharmaceutical companies are the only ones who will come up on top because people can't do without their medication.

People should be reminded that it's not the pharmacies driving up the price of your medication, but the companies that supply the drugs.

More often than not, pharmacists are losing out on money so people can get their medication.