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Prescription Drug Costs' Unsustainable Rise

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See how prescription costs are driving up insurance rates.


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5 Drugs With The Biggest Percent Increases in Cost for BCBSNC and its customers.*

  • Alcortin A®: Up 989% Prescribed for fungal skin infections
  • Colchicine: Up 668% Prescribed for gout
  • Glumetza®: Up 379% Prescribed for diabetes
  • Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate: Up 353% Prescribed for malaria, arthritis, lupus
  • Pennsaid®: Up 329% Prescribed for pain, migraines, arthritis
  • *Increase in cost: 2014-2015

Without a doubt, prescription medicines play a critical role in helping prevent, manage and cure conditions and diseases.

But rising prices are making it difficult for some people to afford the medications they need. Consider five medications with the biggest cost jumps for BCBSNC and its customers from 2014-2015.49
Some, like Alcortin A and Glumetza, soared in price simply because new companies bought the drugs and promptly increased the prices. 50, 51 All are examples of the irrational world of drug pricing.

In 2014, more than half a million Americans took medications that cost $50,000 or more—quite a sum considering the median household income was $53,657. 52, 53

What’s more, in the span of a single year — 2013-2014 — the number of patients with medication costs of $100,000 or more almost tripled. Insurance covered a big portion of the costs for these expensive drugs—to the tune of $52 billion.54

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