Prescriptions Drug Cost Rising Higher Than Rate of Inflation

Archie Ray Terrel knows the difficulty of paying for prescription drugs. She and her husband rely on more than 9 different medication each day.

"One prescription is a hundred something dollars," she says.

Together they spend over $300 a month on their prescriptions. Archie Ray says it's more than they can afford living on social security. Many other seniors face similar hurdles each month.

According to a new report by the consumer advocacy group Families USA, the price of the 50 drugs most often prescribed for seniors rose almost 3 and a half times the rate of inflation in the past year.

The group says the prices have been climbing for at least five years. For example, among the top senior drugs, in 1997, the cholesterol lowering medicine Lipitor ran $666 a year. In 2003 $871. Prilosec: $1325 in 1997 up to $1684 in 2003.

Archie Ray takes Toprol for her breast cancer. In 1997, Toprol cost 185 dollars a year -- today it's $277 a year. That's more than she can afford.

"We've borrowed money to pay for it, pay them back as time rolls by," she says. "Over at Super One -- they let us get it on faith."

The Terrels say at this rate, they won't be able to afford the medicine that keeps them alive.

"I'm hurting. I have no medicine. I don't know what I am going to do but pray," she says.