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My Antidepressants Cost How Much?!?!

I think the people who set the prices for my medications are the same folks who decided Michael Vick should be paid $100 million for playing football.

I took a look at the actual price of my antidepressants and mood stabilizer yesterday and about passed out. Over $1,000 for a  3-month supply of my medications. You’re probably wondering how that amount of money could have slipped by a coupon-clipping, single-mom with a kid in college. Well, I am one of the most blessed people on the planet. I have medical insurance. Really good medical insurance with prescription drug coverage (God bless my employer).

I have this amazing prescription program for maintenance drugs – everything from birth control pills to Lipitor and, yes, antidepressants, anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers. I get a 3-month supply of generics for $30 and brand-name drugs for $60. Doesn’t matter which drug. They are all $30 for 3-months of generics and $60 for 3 months of brand name.

I know. It is an obscenely good deal and I am blessed – truly blessed – to have this benefit. I will be the first to tell you that until the other day, when I looked at the actual receipt, I took this benefit for granted. I’ve been getting this deal for so long that I just open the package when it comes in the mail and toss the paperwork in a folder in my files.

I am embarrassed – actually ashamed – to admit that I have been oblivious to the horrible financial burden that plagues the uninsured with mental illness. Actually, I feel this for anyone with any illness who cannot afford their medication. But I am especially sympathetic towards people with mental illness who go without medication because they cannot afford it. I like to think mental illness is special – not just because I am mentally ill – but because of the extraordinary impact untreated mental illness has on everyone.

You may not think that mental illness impacts you. Depression, bipolar, alcoholism, addiction, schizophrenia and a smorgasbord of other mental illnesses have not personally touched you, your family or friends. Wrong. If you pay taxes – mental illness affects you.

As a journalist, I spent 12 years covering criminal and civil courts. I am here to tell you, there are a lot of untreated mental illness – especially dual-diagnosed addicts and alcoholics – in court. Then there is the loss of productively and cost of insurance (not to mention suffering) caused by depression – the number one workplace disability. I could go on and on…

It is absurd that the people who are most able to pay for their medications – people like me enrolled in generous employer-provided insurance programs – get the best deal on their prescription drugs.

Will someone please explain the logic behind requiring an unemployed coupon-clipping, single mom with a kid in college to spend more then $1,000 for a three month supply of her medications while the employed, coupon-clipping single mom with a kid in college – me – only pays a couple hundred dollars for the same drugs?

I know it’s because my gargantuan insurance company is so powerful it can provide drug makers with a huge population of customers. Still, it’s not fair. The pharmaceutical industry is among the most profitable legal businesses on the planet. I don’t know what I can do about it but I want to do something.

Anyone have any suggestions?

My Antidepressants Cost How Much?!?!

Christine Stapleton

Christine Stapleton has been a journalist for 35 years. She is now an investigative reporter for The Palm Beach Post. In 2006, began writing a blog for PsychCentral called Depression on My Mind. Her latest blog, Addiction Matters, draws on her 19 years of sobriety and her coverage of the drug treatment industry in South Florida.

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APA Reference
Stapleton, C. (2011). My Antidepressants Cost How Much?!?!. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 2019, from


Last updated: 5 Sep 2011
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Sep 2011
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