Prescription Drugs

By: Melissa Reynolds
By: Melissa Reynolds

A local pharmacist said in 1986 the average cost of a prescription was $15. Today it's almost $40.

"Every order we get it seems the prices are going up $5-$6 a bottle," Gene Layman says.

Doesn't sound too bad, until you find out that happens four times a year.

"When the patients come in they are very acutely aware of how much it goes up particularly elderly people, fixed income people," Layman says.

It's their prescriptions that are the most common and the most expensive.

"The high priced brand name things your cholesterol medicines, blood pressure pills, circulation medicines," Layman says.

To give you an idea...a month's supply of the ulcer medicine, Prevacid is $435, cost to you is $145. The cholesterol medicine Zocor is $135 for pharmacists, $142 out of your pocket. And the blood pressure drug Hyzaar will cost you $69, a lot of money for a daily dose.

"It's just too expensive to keep on taking them they have to make a choice the prescription medicines or nothing at all," Layman says.

That's why many people come to free clinics to get their prescriptions, now a bill passed by the general assembly would allow excess drugs from nursing homes to be given out at free clinics.

"They are on some of the same type medications some of our free clinic patients are on so it's going to be a real asset to clinic patients," Elly Swecker says.

That'll supplement the leftover samples they get from doctors, pills from the drug companies and what they can afford in their budget.

"Without medications we're really not helping our patients," Swecker says.

Now there is relief in sight. You can call Together Rx at 1-800-865-7211 to get discounts with eight major companies. Or 1-800-711-2712 to get discounts on Pfizer drugs.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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