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Gordon Theisz, MD

Falls Church, Va.

“If you’re forced to chose between paying the mortgage and meds, you’re going to pay the mortgage.”

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When Gordon Theisz, a general practitioner based in Falls Church, Va., prescribes a medication, he’s not always sure his patients can afford it. Theisz has made a habit of asking drug company sales reps what the cash price paid by uninsured patients is for new medications on the market. For years the standard answer was about $100.

“In the last three to four years new meds coming out are being priced in the $300 to $400 range,” Theisz says. And it goes up from there. For patients without health insurance, psoriasis medications can run $1,200 to $1,500 a month, he adds.

Generic medication prices are also climbing. As the situation worsens, Theisz sees some patients forgoing meds altogether.

“If you’re forced to chose between paying the mortgage and meds, you’re going to pay the mortgage,” he says.

Read the rest of Tarbell’s series on Big Pharma and high drug costs.