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Bill aimed to limit the pain of prescription drug prices for Ohioans

WSYX/WTTE

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- ABC6 is On Your Side, trying to get to the bottom of sky rocketing prescription drug prices.

A Hilliard man reached out to us after the price of his medication went through the roof.

Like many people, Larry Farrow takes a prescription medication for his health.

A recent price change almost gave him a heart attack.

"In 2015, I ordered the drug and it was $80 plus a $100 deductible," he said.

"In January, because of the insurance change or whatever, it was going to cost me almost $1300 for a 90 day supply.

I was kind of shocked. I couldn't believe it. I thought it was a misprint or something."

"No one can give me no answer as to why this drug costs so much."

Ernie Boyd, the executive director of the Ohio Pharmacist Association, says it's not because of a drug shortage.

"None of the prices that the manufacturers charge are regulated," said Boyd.

"The profit that the pharmacy makes is very regulated. The state of Ohio and Medicaid for instance allows us to make $1.80 on a prescription that may cost us from the manufacturer $1500. So, if we can't buy it better than that, we can actually lose money on various insurance plans, Medicaid, etc."

Boyd says it's not only brand names that are affected.

"We have seen many many generic drugs specially skyrocket in price. Some of the drugs that people are used to paying five dollars for a month's supply all of a sudden are costing the pharmacy over $300 for that same supply."

The skirmish over drug pricing has made its way to the Statehouse.

If passed, the Drug Price Relief Act could reduce prescription drug costs for Ohioans.

It's a citizen lead effort that the drug companies are fighting.

Carmen Farrow, Larry's wife, says she can't understand why companies put profit over people's pain.

"This is 2016," she said. "We don't expect to get things for the same price as we did in 1965, but those are house payments. Where you might pay the house payment once a month, to get the drug that's a house payment. An extra one every three months."

Larry hasn't been taking his medication.

He says he wanted to see how long he could go without it.

But now, after three weeks, he says he's having problems.

He's going back to the doctor try something else: a cheaper alternative that won't break the bank.

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