The wife and I picked up our drugs (prescription, not recreational) while we were out for diner earlier. We are fortunate to have decent coverage through her government employer although some of the price differences were shocking. On the low end of the spectrum, my Simvastatin (generic Zocor, an ACE inhibitor for high blood pressure) was $4.00 retail and $0.00 my cost. On the high end of the spectrum, my Xifaxin 550mg (for Hepatic Encephalopathy) was $2,793.99 retail and $40.00 my cost. My Jardiance 25mg (for diabetes) was $593.99 retail and $40.00 my cost. My wife's Lumigan and Combigan eye drops (for high intra-ocular pressure) were both $40.00 our cost although I don't know the retail prices off-hand.
What I find particularly galling is the blatant price gouging the drug companies have been able to get away without being prosecuted by the appropriate government agencies (i.e. FDA, VA, DHHS, Department of Consumer Affairs, etc...). I recall about 20 years ago getting a prescription filled for the wife in the Bahamas (Eleuthera) for $3.00 cash for a prescription that cost $20.00 after insurance in the US. The doctor bill was about $20.00 without insurance. There is some slight validity to the argument that the cost of prescription drugs offsets the cost of research, but a lot of the mainstay money-makers have been on the market for 25+ years and have been nothing but pure profit for a decade or two.
An example of obscene pricing is the familiar drug Lipitor. As stated below, the wholesale cost per month is $3.80 US while the consumer may pay anywhere from $0.00 to $30.00 depending on retailer and/or insurance.
Atorvastatin was patented in 1986 and approved for medical use in the United States in 1996. It is available as a generic medication. In the United States, the wholesale cost per month is about 3.80 USD as of 2018. In the United Kingdom, it costs the NHS about £0.70 per month as of 2018. In 2016, it was the 3rd most prescribed medication in the United States, with more than 96 million prescriptions.