Nearly 250 drugs are in short supply and causing a spike in prices

ConsumerAffairs

How to find the Rx you need at the lowest, most consistent price

Are we entering a new era of supply shortages? It certainly seems like it. In addition to new reports that orange juice is in short supply, drugs – the stuff many of us use OJ to wash down – are also taking a major hit in availability.

Added up, there are more than 250 medications on the nation's drug shortage list, spanning across 22 therapeutic categories. That includes:

  • ADHD medications (Adderall and generic versions of Vyvanse, for example)

  • Chemotherapy drugs

  • Type 2 diabetes medications

  • Pain and sedation medications (such as Midazolam and Ketamine), and

  • Narcolepsy medications

The primary reasons for these shortages include discontinuation of drug production, rising demand, delays in shipments, and manufacturing and quality issues. 

Hitting consumers' pocketbook

No good shortage in a consumer product category comes without what seems to be the requisite gouge in prices. According to reports, this particular shortage has led to increased drug prices, with an estimated 16.6% price hike for drugs in short supply.

If you’re someone who takes a drug that’s in short supply, the mere mention of a price hike probably has your attention. You can go to pharmacies that participate in discount programs like GoodRx and SingleCare and find competitive prices, but sometimes the coupons/discounts are a one-time use only.

For a more consistent deal, Mark Cuban’s CostPlusDrugs only marks drugs up 15% over the manufacturer’s cost, adds in $5 for pharmacy labor and $5 for shipping -- that’s all. It's highly doubtful you'll ever find any shortage-driven price hikes there.

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