Proposed bill asks for lawmakers to look at generic medication costs

Proposed bill asks for lawmakers to look at generic medication costs

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Arkansas pharmacies have seen an increase in the price for generic medicine over the past six months to a year and pharmacists don't know what caused it.

Jonesboro pharmacists said Tuesday that this increase is not small. Andrea Rubottom, a pharmacist at Soo's Drugs, said what used to cost only pennies, now costs $100 per bottle.

"It's not just a little increase like milk and bacon have gone up, it's drastic," Rubottom said. "Twenty times increases."

What this means for patients needing this medicine varies. Brian Oholendt with Gibson's Pharmacy said people who have insurance are not really affected by the price increase. That group of people have a set co-pay and that is it he said. Those without insurance though are the ones who are affected.

"Our cash paying customers, it definitely hurts them in the pocketbooks," Oholendt said. "Just because a medication they used to get for 20 they are now having to pay 60 for. You know, and I'm keeping the same profit margin but it's just having to pay more for it. So unfortunately we have to pass on that bad news to them as well."

Oholendt said there is not much difference in price between generic brands and some name brands. He said about 90% of the patients that use Gibson's purchase generic brands.

Each pharmacy uses a different tactic to help out their customers when they are purchasing medication. Gibson's uses generic medication to fill a prescription unless specified and Soo's calls the physician to ask for another option.

"We will have to call the doctor and say hey they can't afford to get this medication," Rubottom said. "Can we change it to something less expensive maybe some sort of alternative and sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't."

Right now a bill has been proposed in the Arkansas Legislature that asks the United States Congress to investigate the price increase. You can read House Resolution 1013 by clicking here.

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