Independent Health issues special report on rising generic drug prices

Generic drugs, traditionally a vital cost-saver for consumers and employers, account for about 80 percent of all prescriptions nationally and 85 percent at Independent Health. They play a pivotal role in controlling costs, saving the U.S. health care system nearly $1.5 trillion between 2004 and 2013.

In recent years, however, generic drug prices have soared for various reasons.

Recent news stories have reported on this disconcerting trend, especially following Turing Pharmaceuticals' original plan to increase the cost for a long-standard medicine to treat parasitic infections from $13.50 to $750 a pill. The capricious price increase of drugs – from generics to specialty medications – present a significant challenge to addressing the unsustainable trend of rising health care costs.

Independent Health has published a special report, "The Alarming Side Effects of Unchecked Generic Drug Pricing," which covers the impact of rising generic medications, the reasons behind the price hikes, and proposes remedies to help prevent random spikes in traditionally affordable generic medications as well as outrageously priced new drugs.

In the report, Edward Stehlik, M.D., MACP, of Northtowns Medical Group, P.C., says the rash of unconscionable generic drug price increases prices should spark outrage among consumers and physicians in the U.S., where generic medications cost much more than in other countries.

"We are now frequently seeing new drugs that cost thousands, and sometimes tens of thousands, of dollars a month and generic drugs that have increased in price one thousand-fold faster than inflation without any increase in the cost of making the medication," says Stehlik. "However, most of these costs remain obscure or hidden to the people who actually use them except when they pay their insurance premium, which turns out to be much higher than it should be due to the drug companies' huge markups on these medications."

A copy of the special report, is available on Independent Health's website: Independent Health Pharmacy Report: The Alarming Side Effects of Unchecked Generic Drug.