Why Drug Companies Are Making Common Drugs up to 100 Times More Expensive

From Ten Cents Then; Now Five Dollars

A drug called colchicine is all that keeps some 2 million American gout patients from suffering debilitating pain in their toes, elbows, wrists, and fingers. Doctors have prescribed the compound, derived from the seeds of the autumn crocus, for centuries. But patients who take colchicine woke up with a new symptom recently: a giant pain in the wallet.

Until January, colchicine was sold by many companies and cost as little as 10 cents a pill. Now it’s available only under the trade name Colcrys, sold by a Philadelphia company called URL Pharma—for five dollars per pill. * The colchicine story, and a few others like it, have provoked ire among some patients and doctors about an otherwise praiseworthy effort by the FDA to get rid of old, untested, potentially harmful drugs.

white and green medication pill
A Giant Pain in the Wallet

http://www.slate.com/id/2289616/ A Giant Pain in the Wallet. by Arthur Allen