I know the cost of everything is rising, but this is ridiculous: A common remedy for gout and other inflammatory conditions has shot up by more than 2,700 percent.
The remedy is called colchicine, and it's been used for literally thousands of years.
It's been used for so long that it predates the FDA's drug approval rules, making it technically an "orphan drug" allowed for use despite the fact that the FDA never officially signed off on it.
Well, it's an orphan no more: A company called URL Pharma put it through a clinical trial -- no real gamble since the drug has been effectively used since forever -- and won itself a shiny new patent.
Now called Colcrys, the price of the average 23-day prescription shot up from $6.72 to $185.53, according to a recent CBS News report.
That's a pretty hefty markup. And if that sounds familiar, it's because it's happening more and more as orphan drugs are captured -- or maybe "kidnapped" is a better word -- and dragged into the Big Pharma family.
Earlier this year, a drug company patented hydroxyprogesterone -- an inexpensive hormone used for years to help lower the risk of a preterm birth in high-risk pregnancies -- and boosted the price by 15,000 percent.
Then, the company had the nerve to send legal threats to compounding pharmacists who continued to make the cheaper version of the hormone on their own.
Eventually, the feds stepped in and told pharmacists they could keep making their low-cost version -- but don't expect them to do that for colchicine, and don't expect them to do it for the estimated 1,000 other "orphan" meds out there waiting for a new Big Pharma family.
And that means any inexpensive remedy you rely on today could turn into a big-money nightmare tomorrow.
Luckily, in the case of gout, you don't have to pay those outrageous prices -- and since colchicine is actually toxic and can come with some pretty big risks up to and including death, you don't have to put your life on the line, either.
There are inexpensive and completely natural solutions that have been used to fight gout for almost as long as colchicine -- and one of them is the best-tasting cure around: Cherries.
One recent study fond that eating 20 cherries in 48 hours can cut the risk of a gout attack in half. If you don't have any cherries handy, try cherry juice -- the pure stuff, not some sugary cherry drink.
I had more on gout -- including another completely natural and inexpensive treatment -- back in September, and you can read it all for free right here.