Danville, VA - The number one antibiotic used to treat Lyme Disease is in short supply across the country, and now prices for Doxycycline used for people and animals have skyrocketed.
Some reports say the discontinuation of the product by two major manufacturers is to blame. Others say it's a lack of raw materials needed to make the drug.
Until the shortage is over, folks may be in for a surprise at the cash register.
"We used to get a prescription for about twenty dollars. It's over two hundred dollars now for a prescription, " said Veterinarian Jeff Smith.Dr. Smith prescribes Doxycycline to his patients to treat Lyme Disease and other flea-borne illnesses, but for his furry friends and their families, the price to treat those illnesses may be getting too high.
"A lot of our patients don't have health insurance. A large dog may take 5 or 6 tablets twice a day and it can be cost prohibitive for some people, " Smith said.
Officials say the shortage became evident earlier this year, and there aren't many other options available.
"There are no other drugs that are proven to work for these diseases, so it's kind of a guessing game, " said Smith.
It's just as problematic for humans as it is for animals. Southside Virginia is always hit hard by Lyme Disease, and experts say this year will be no different.
"Most people, especially the uninsured, it leads them to not being able to acquire the medication, " said Pharmacist Nathan Payne.
Until the shortage is over, doctors say the important way to avoid the high costs is to prevent ticks from getting on you and your pets, so you won't have to treat a bigger problem later.
"Have a preventative measure for ticks all year round. There are some great products, your veterinarian can discuss your situation, find the best product for you, " Smith said.