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Letter

Every six-12 months, pharmaceutical companies announce price increases, often over 10 percent. Because third parties and taxpayers pay for this, both consumers and prescribing doctors have been unaware before the recent insulin and EpiPen disasters.

The recent expansion of Medicaid to cover expensive prescriptions for patients previously unable to afford them is basically "welfare" for big pharmaceutical companies who can now earn billions more, paid for courtesy of the taxpayers.

The most egregious abuse of patients and taxpayers has been the completely unjustified massive price increases in generic drugs that have been available at very low prices for years. One recent example is the drug methocarbamol (Robaxin), a non-narcotic often used to treat back pain. Because of increased demand due to attempts to get people off narcotics, Actient Pharmaceuticals has cited "shortages" to increase the price from $8.50 to $105, an increase of over 1,000 percent. This is an example of cold-hearted predatory pricing.

Don't expect Congress to help after years of this; they are sponsored by so many lobbyists they should wear patches like NASCAR drivers. 

Rolf Holle,

Missoula

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