Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Food Or Medication?

Hi everybody. Now that I have access to cable news again, I see that the irrelevant political bickering and trumped-up controversies go on. This is especially maddening to me given what I've gone through the past couple of weeks. The issue of health care has always been one of the top issues that concern Americans, yet to this day there has been no real nitty gritty national discussion of the subject. You always hear about people that have to choose between buying medication and eating. On the day I was discharged from the hospital, this scenario touched me directly.

I came home Friday night and my mother immediately headed out to the pharmacy with my prescriptions. Prior to this hospital stay I took no prescribed medication. Unfortunately, the lovely doctor (more on him later) wrote the prescriptions so poorly that the pharmacist didn't know what to do with them. She then sent my mother home while she tried to figure things out with the doctor. About an hour later we got a call from the pharmacy and my mom answered the phone. I heard her ask how much they were going to be and by her face I could tell it was a lot. She then turned to me and said that one of my medications was not covered at all by insurance and was going to be almost $500.

"For how long?!" I asked. It was only a 30 day supply. And we weren't even done yet. Another medication was covered, but was still going to be almost $300 for a 30 day supply. I quickly did the math in my head and half laughed. "No. Just tell her no then," I said. "There is no way I can afford that." I really didn't even need to think about it. My mom relayed this to the pharmacist, who said she would call the doctor and tell him. A little later the pharmacist called back to tell us the doctor had switched the cheaper (if you call almost $300 cheap) medication to something else. The new medication would cost me...$12. Um, yeah, that's a bit better. But I have to wonder why he didn't just prescribe that in the first place. I swear.

As for the $500 medication? Don't have it and suspect I never will. I'm not too worried about it though because it's not something that I need to stay alive. But it does make me think about the millions of people in this country, the richest country in the world, who have to choose between eating and taking life saving drugs. It's unacceptable. It's immoral. And the fact that these issues aren't front and center on the news is a disgrace.


Blogger Anne said...


Major supermarket chains, Target, Walmart are charging very low prices for generic prescriptions, as low as $4.00 for antibiotics. Have your physician prescribe you generic to save moeny. It is amazing the price differences from generic to name brand. I wasn't prescribed a generic brand of eye drops, the difference was $50.00. I feel we are at the mercy of pharmacuetical and oil industries. Take care, Anne

12:06 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@anne--Thanks for the suggestion, but these aren't antibiotics. My expensive prescriptions are for liquid medication that goes in a nebulizer for breathing treatments. My doctor switched the one, but apparently there's nothing cheap that's similar to the other one. When I go in for an appointment I'll ask if it's possible to get samples, but I'm not holding my breath--no pun intended. Heh.

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's easy to say "take the $4 generic," but what if there isn't one? I have serious asthma and am on about $500 worth of medication every month. I have no insurance and cannot get it--insurance with good prescription coverage is close to $1,000 a month here. Since it costs about $100 just to walk through the door of my doc's office, and $350 just to walk through the door of my pulmonologist's office, I have to decide between buying the meds I need to live and having my condition monitored. I don't see the doctor when I'm sick and basically just pray I don't need antibiotics or have a more serious problem. I can't afford to go.

All I can say is thank god for Canada, from whom I have started getting my prescription drugs for less than half what they cost me here. And while $200 a month is a lot better than $500, it's still a huge financial strain and, I agree, an absolute outrage.

Glad to hear you're okay, btw, and that you're on the mend :) Can't wait to see your reviews again!

6:53 PM  

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