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Rising costs of prescriptions

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One pill can both save a life and drain a bank account. The ballooning cost of some prescription drugs is now driving people to desperate decisions, but it didn't have to be this way.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported between 2008 and 2015 a whopping 164 percent increase for brand name drugs.

Amanda Merten's have gone up as much as 26 percent in just over a year, according to data from Medicaid.gov.

So why are there increases, and how are drug companies allowed to keep raising prices?

Senator Bill Nelson said he's written amendments and bills to allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices, but none of them became law. That's costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the senator.

That industry game lawmakers more than $58 million during the last election and hundreds of millions of dollars over the last two decades.

While that campaign cash was coming in prescription prices for people like Amanda kept going up.

"I woke up one morning and my car was gone, it was repossessed," she said. "I had to spend every penny I had on my medication because my life depended on this medication."

You now know the problem, but what is the solution? Short of Congress taking action, there are things you can do:

  • About 19 million Americans have purchased cheaper drugs online from countries. Just make sure you are buying from a legitimate pharmacy.
  • Some drug manufacturers will help you pay for your prescriptions.
  • You can work with your doctor to get a cheaper alternative.

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