The Price Isn't Right

Drug firms start to feel the heat as the cost of medication spirals

Jake Green, 75, of Winchester, Ky., learned in 1987 that he had myasthenia gravis, a rare degenerative disease that attacks the nerves leading to muscles. Since then, the cost of a month's supply of Mestinon, the drug produced by Switzerland's Hoffman-LaRoche that helps control his disorder, has jumped from $65 to $136. In testimony before Congress last November, Green told the Senate Special Committee on Aging, "I fear the day when I will not be able to afford to purchase the medicine which is keeping me alive."

Barbara Connell heads the Daystar Care Center, a nursing home in Cairo, Ill. Her...