How a Generic Antibiotic Nearly Cost an Arm and a Leg (Literally)

diabetes meter next to insulin
Katie Mui
Katie Mui is on the Research Team at GoodRx.
Posted on

GoodRx started with a simple idea: Help people find affordable medications. Help people understand their options. Help people get what they need for their health. Basically, we like to think that GoodRx helps. We’d love to hear and share more of your stories, so tell us on Facebook or Twitter with the tag #GoodRxHelps. 

It’s not every day that someone tells you that you saved their foot. Meet April, a 54-year-old mother of two living in Cypress, TX. She likes to spend her time cooking and writing about her recipes and her dog, warmly nicknamed Dingbat. She says, “If I can make someone laugh, or cry, or just remember my stories, well, it makes my day.”

It’s going to be hard to forget April’s incredible story about her foot.

April has had Type 2 diabetes for over 20 years, and developed neuropathy as a result. Neuropathy, or nerve damage, is a common but serious complication for people with diabetes. It often results when the blood sugar levels, which can be notoriously difficult to control, stay too high for too long.

Three years ago, April discovered she had a severe foot infection – but because she has very little feeling in her feet, she didn’t notice until it was possibly too late to save it. She had to spend two terrifying weeks in the hospital with IV antibiotics before being sent home with a prescription for doxycycline (Vibramycin).

Doxycycline is a routine antibiotic used to treat many bacterial infections, ranging from acne to STDs to Lyme disease. It’s available as generic and typically retails for about $44 a month. But right when April needed the antibiotics for her foot, the price for doxycycline was skyrocketing. A combination of drug shortages in prior years and more recent price hikes meant its price tag had gone up by more than 150%.

“Imagine my horror when I found out that this particular drug went from less than $30 a month to almost $2000… and I needed to be on it for 90 days. I flat out did not have the money.”

Not sure what to do, April took to the internet and found GoodRx. With GoodRx, a monthly supply of doxycycline was $45, and so April was able to take care of her foot. Understandably, she has kept a close eye on doxycycline since then, and has watched its price drop back down over time. Today, it’s about $100 a month with her insurance and $18 a month with GoodRx.

April is now a part of a direct care clinic that helps her manage her diabetes with unlimited in-person visits and phone consultations. GoodRx is a continuous part of her care as her doctor checks the GoodRx website before prescribing medications, making sure patients have the most affordable option. Though April gets her insulin through a Patient Assistance Program, she still saves thousands with GoodRx every year when treating conditions associated with diabetes. She’s been on doxycycline three more times and needs Type 2 medication metformin (Glucophage), along with anti-nausea meds to counteract its side effects.

Needless to say, the feeling of not being able to afford medication is all too familiar to April, and she insists that GoodRx not only saved her life, but her foot as well. She says, “It is very scary to know you need a medication, have to have it, and cannot afford it.“

Put drug prices & coupons in your pocket!
We'll text you a link to download our free Android or iPhone app
Get GoodRx Mobile App

Drugs featured in this story

Filed under