TOUCHED BY LYME: Doxycycline shortage causes prices to skyrocket
The previously inexpensive drug is often prescribed for Lyme disease.
A nationwide shortage of doxycycline, a drug often prescribed for Lyme disease as well as other conditions such as sexually transmitted diseases, acne, and malaria, is causing prices to skyrocket. Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reported on a woman whose out-of-pocket expenses ballooned from $4.60 for a 60-day supply to $165. I posted a link to that article on the LymeDisease.org Facebook page, and received some eye-popping comments from readers. Here’s a sampling:
“Mine was 300.”
“Mine went from $4 to $399. With insurance I paid $101.23.”
“I paid 167.00 after insurance…50% of real price for 120 pills at Walmart.”
“Mine went from $17.00 to $400.00. It’s insane.”
If you find yourself in this position, I’ve got a couple of suggestions that might help somewhat. Go to the NeedyMeds website and do this.
One: download and print a pdf of their prescription discount card. This is accepted at most major pharmacies across the country, doesn’t require you to fill out any financial information, and may offer you some relief at the pharmacy cash register. (Decisions about which drugs are discounted, and how much of a break you receive vary from pharmacy-to pharmacy and drug-to-drug. Check out your options.)
Two: on the home page of the NeedyMeds website, look at the right hand column. There’s a place to fill in the name of your drug and your zip code. This will list pharmacies in your area that offer a discount coupon for your drug. (You download and print the coupon with the click of a button.) For my zip code, I found a dozen pharmacies listing coupons for doxycycline ranging in price from $80 to $262. (That’s for 100 mg strength. If you bump up to the 150 mg strength, prices range from $375 to $445. Yikes!)
Even 80 bucks is out of the reach of many suffering Lyme patients, though it’s obviously better than $262. You should also discuss the situation with your doctor, to see if a more readily available drug might be suitable in your case.
Health officials blame the shortage on increased demand and manufacturing delays. The Food and Drug Administration says doxycycline will be in short supply for at least several more months.
For more information about the shortage of doxycycline and other drugs, visit www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/DrugShortages/ucm050792.htm.
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org’s VP for Education and Outreach. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- March 10, 2013 at 8:31 am
I went to Kroger yesterday to pick up a doxy refill. In Dec. Walgreens was charging $43 for the same prescription without insurance. Yesterday Kroger wanted $399. A friend with insurance told me she refilled her prescription yesterday for $40 which used to be $4 (what I paid last year when I had insurance). In both cases that is a 10 fold, or 1000% increase.
Our state Attorney General has prosecuted gasoline station owners for price gouging when there have been temporary shortages after natural disasters or during the peak of tourist season (such as KY Derby). Their gouging was in the double digit % increase range. Shortage or not, what justifies gouging sick people with 1000% increases because of a production shortage other than pure outright unbridled greed and a complete disregard for human life and human suffering? And this as we enter the beginning of what promises to be another huge tick season.
So a struggling middle class family who has a child infected with Lyme this spring will find out it costs the $400 to treat this “hard to catch, easy to cure” infection. Not to mention the thousands upon thousands of seriously ill Lyme patients all over the US who will now not be able to afford what was a low cost generic antibiotic that is a primary tool in the fight against this epidemic. So where are our public health and political leaders now?
Rant over…Lyme Warrior re-energized. I know who I’ll be calling tomorrow.
- June 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm
I agree this is absolutely price gouging and should be prosecuted. What is to prevent the manufacturers from serially having “manufacturing delays” in order to manufacture a shortage. We know their production costs didn’t suddenly sky rocket. Another example that our society has accepted that capitalistic greed in all its excesses is acceptable behavior. No abuse is to great under the auspices of “free market capitalism”. Mitt Romney would be proud of these capitalists.
- June 25, 2013 at 6:58 pm
I went to Walmart Pharmacy in Westbury, NY to pick up my prescription for Doxycycline. Last time I paid $4.00. Today they wanted $800.00!!!!! I told the pharmacist that I could not afford the drug anymore, and that I would just have to let the Disease take it’s course. I was really surprised by his callous behavior. I am searching for an online pharmacy. This is absolutely criminal that the pharmaceutical companies can slow down the supplies and gouge the prices.
- November 19, 2013 at 10:47 am
call me a conspirorist, but ever since big pharma met with the white house to ‘negotiate’ their discounts for the federal healthcare programs–medicare/caid/affordable care act, drug availability and prices have fluctuated wildly. i am a veterinarian, and our prices for drugs immediately shot up 30-40% across the board. drug companies will give the feds discounts when strong-armed, but they aren’t going to let profits decline–they just charge other entities more to make up the difference—govt cannot seem to wrap their heads around this concept.
we had a 3 month stretch where we could get no anesthetic of any kind. when we could again, it was 50% more in cost. phenobarbitol–a drug to treat seizures went from 2 cents a pill to 20 cents a pill overnight. it had been 2cents for 20 years!!! now, veterinarians cannot purchase doxycycline at all due to the ‘shortage’. my clients will not buy the script at a pharmacy for their pets due to the cost. no one considers the fact that if your pet has lyme’s, rocky mtn spotted fever, tick fever, etc., any tick that feeds on it, then you, could transmit the disease to you.
i do not think this is price gouging/shortages due to drug companies. i believe the govt is stockpiling these drugs for their govt. health plans and manipulating the market(on purpose or accidental) in the process. it may look like healthcare is cheaper(tho, more and more it is worse expense wise) with govt care, but you will pay for it somewhere else–taxes, pets, delayed care due to med ‘shortages’, etc.
i truly find it odd and coincidental that we had no shortages for decades but as soon as afa passes, shortages everywhere–and they come in drug classes–anesthetics, antibiotics, seizure meds, etc. odd indeed.
- November 28, 2013 at 10:22 pm
I truly believe you have a valid point. call ME a conspirorist, as you said.
Dr. has started treating me for Lyme. I thought o.k. call the ‘script’ into the $4 Wallmart generic plan & we’ll start this battle. I got the bill yesterday @ $288. IT FLOORED ME!! I asked if there was a generic, only to find THIS IS GENERIC??!
Man behind the counter said it was on the $4 plan last year. I’m still blown away. So, tonight looking for a solution I’ve been snooping around the web. What I have read may just confirm our fears.
When you click on the ASHP website look closely AT THE DATES.
- November 18, 2014 at 9:58 am
It’s mid-November 2014, a full year and a half since the last comment posted on the subject of The Doxycyline price-gouging issue. I get quotes all over the board from various pharmacies, with and without insurance and/or pharmacy savings plans. Anywhere from $640 – the highest from Publix – to the lowest at $345 from WallyWorld. So I can report the situation even worse now than it was in 2013. The thing is, the prices they quote change every single day, so its like playing Russian Roulette every time you go to refill, you have to call or go by every one of them to see whose cheapest that day.
Fortunately, I’m now officially indigent and went to homeless clinic in town and now get it free, for the moment anyways. No telling when this will be last they offer it, but gonna get it free while I can.
Alabama – the state where “we don’t have Lyme Disease, because we don’t have those kinds of ticks here”. No Kidding, that’s the party line in Alabama.
Oh, I see. The ticks with Lyme Disease refuse to cross the state line into Alabama because they’re “consciencious objectors”.
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