Designer steroids are potentially very dangerous because they are unlikely to have ever been tested to ensure their safety. Athletes who use these steroids are essentially offering themselves as test subjects for drugs that could have unknown consequences. Also, because they are made secretly, there is no way to be sure the compounds themselves are not harmful, or that they have not been adulterated with some other dangerous substance. Even assuming the drugs work as intended, anabolic steroids can have harmful effects on the body, including the risk of infertility and cardiovascular damage. Depending on the country, they also may be illegal.
The majority of chemical suppliers sold research chemicals in bulk form as powder, not as pills, as selling in pill form would invalidate the claims that they were being sold for non-consumptive research. Active dosages vary widely from substance to substance, ranging from micrograms to hundreds of milligrams, but while it is critical for the end user to weigh doses with a precision scale, instead of guessing ("eyeballing"), many users did not do this and this led to many emergency room visits and several deaths, which were a prominent factor leading to the emergency scheduling of several substances and eventually Operation Web Tryp. Some compounds such as 2C-B and 5-Meo-DiPT did eventually increase in popularity to the point that they were sold in pill form to reach a wider market, and acquired popular street names ("Nexus" and "Foxy," respectively). Once a chemical reaches this kind of popularity, it is usually just a matter of time before it is added to the list of scheduled (., illegal) drugs.
Some of the generic drops have become expensive because of consolidation. For example, generic pred forte drops used to be very inexpensive but now there are only two companies that make it and those two companies are owned by the same two large pharmaceuticals that own the branded medicines, hence the price of the generic is almost the same as the expensive branded options. The price of drugs does vary from one pharmacy to another and each insurance plan has its preferred drugs which cost much less for patients depending on the deals they have made with the manufactures. For example brand A might be priced well at one store because they have made a good deal with the manufacturer and made it their preferred drug while brand B would be expensive. Across town a different drug store chain might have a great price for B and a high price for A because they have make B their preferred drug and have a great volume price with the manufacturer.
Alas, it is hard to find a cost effective way to protect your eyes around cataract surgery.