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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) –Generic drugs are supposed to be easy to get and cheap.  But recently, the price of some generic drugs has doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled.  And now, patients are starting to feel the pinch.

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“I make choices daily,” Amanda Greene, a Lupus patient from Culver City, California told our Los Angeles affiliate.  “My choices are can I get by without this? Do I need a patch today? Can I get by with half a patch?”

The I-Team found examples like Greene’s across the country; patients with all types of illnesses trying to figure out how they’ll pay for an essential drug.

Here are just a few examples: Doxycycline, an antibiotic, went from $20 to $1,849 dollars for a bottle of 500.  Albuterol Sulfate, an asthma treatment, went from $11 to $434 for a bottle of 100 pills.

Barbara Heller of New York takes Ursodiol to prevent liver damage, “I was upset.  I didn’t know what to do.

Back here in Texas, the CBS 11 I-Team spoke with local pharmacist and Donna Barsky, Texas Star Pharmacy.

“It’s out of hand.  It is out of hand,” Barsky stated.  “A bottle of Tizanadine 4mg was about $180. Now it is $382.37 for the same bottle.”

Barsky has seen firsthand how these price increases have impacted patients, doctor’s offices, and pharmacies like hers.

“They don’t really understand it.  I don’t really understand it.  It’s one of those things that, once it starts happening, it’s almost like a snowball effect.  So, if one company does it another company’s going to do it,” Barsky noted.

Barsky has been working with the national community pharmacy association to take these issues to Washington, D.C…

So has Joe Harmison, a former president and current member of the national organization.  He believes there are three main factors for the price hikes.

“There’s a disruption for us getting the chemical.  There’s consolidation in the industry.  There are fewer providers,” Harmison

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The I-Team reached out to the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, but never heard back.  Although, on their website, Ralph Neas, the Association’s President and CEO, defends the industry:

“Indeed, generics saved $239 billion in 2013 (a 14% increase in savings from 2012) and more than $1.46 trillion over the recent decade. Further, the Express Scripts 2013 Drug Trend Report issued in 2014 shows that since 2008, the price of brand drugs has almost doubled, but the price of generic drugs has been cut roughly in half.”

But that’s no comfort to pharmacists like Harmison.

“Are you at all scared that this could get way out of hand if something isn’t done,” Investigative Reporter Mireya Villarreal asked.

“I’m not going to get in the middle of free enterprise.  I appreciate it. But if somebody is doing something just because they can and it disadvantages people that are already ill or in pain, that’s not right,” Harmison answered.  “And we as patient’s advocates need to stand up for that.”

The US Senate just held a big hearing on these price increases, demanding a bigger investigation and explanation.  However, none of the big drug manufacturers showed up to that hearing.

Table on Generic Drug Price Increases

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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