When the cost of both brand name and generic levothyroxin skyrocketed two years ago, the first thing I did (after complaining loudly to the pharmacist, although it wasn’t his fault) was look at the Food and Drug Administrations’s (FDA) website.
Following the Economics 101 rule of supply and demand, the sudden price increase of a drug is usually due to a shortage. Sometimes ingredients are difficult to find, or a quality control issue has limited the supply.
The FDA has a page that lists all known drug shortages, including the reason for the shortage and how long it is expected to last.
(Note: There was a temporary shortage of levothyroxin; however, the shortage no longer exists and the price has yet to come down!)
Just last month, the FDA introduced an app to track drug shortages. It’s mostly of value to health care providers who write a lot of prescriptions, but anyone who takes a few prescriptions and has experienced the shock of standing at the pharmacy desk and being told your medication now costs three times more than it did last month might be interested in it, too.