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Old 12-29-2006, 02:48 AM   #1
SwampGas
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Default Cost of meds

I've never been on any meds. I'd occasionally need "the pink stuff" as a kid, and very rarely ever needed a prescription as an adult.

My eyes are really dry and itchy. One eye got a little puffy. I went to the opthamologist, who happens to be a very cute young lady, and she said I had an eye infection. It's not the first time it's happened, but I just ignored it in the past and figured it was dry air or something. To fix it, she gave me one of those samples to start me immediately as well as 3 prescriptions (one of which is the full container of the sample).

Went to walmart to fill the prescription...no particular reason (not like I'm cheaping out on my health), just because I had something filled there in the past, it's on the way home, and I needed to buy cat food. Got my little baggie containing 3 prescriptions, got a bunch of cans of cat food ($0.44 each, compared to $0.46 at my grocery store) and a bag of dry food. Went to the checkout.

$124. With my insurance coverage.

Um, what? I looked at the receipt. One 5mL bottle (as in, my thumb is bigger than this med) was $50 that I needed to pay. The other 5mL bottle was $47. The 3rd was $4.

So I went to my healthcare provider online (united healthcare) to check it out. One of the things was called Zymar. It's a tier-3 medication (whatever tier-3 means) and I'm responsible up to $50. I cross-referenced it and found a generic for $10 copay.

The next was Lotemax. It said my cost would be $50 again (tier-3), but since it was only $47, I assume the actual cost was less than my copay. Same deal with the generic one...$10 copay.

The 3rd was Bacitracin ointment. The estimated cost was $10 (tier-1 generic) so since it was only $4 I assume I got Sam's Choice generic bacitracin.

So I got totally hosed today. What the hell is up with the drug costs? I'm glad my sister is a year and half away from getting a doctorate of pharmacology....call her ass up and get free samples for everything I need.

Discuss in a backroom fashion.
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Old 12-29-2006, 04:27 AM   #2
icenine0
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Default Re: Cost of meds

I read somewhere that prescription drugs have the highest markup of pretty much any product available. As in, they cost literally pennies to produce.

Other things to consider:

1 - Drug companies always want new, patentable drugs available in order to create intellectual property that they can hose you with. A lot of these are just molecular mirror images of an older drug. However, those that aren't often = bad for the consumer. A longer used, well-established, well-researched drug is what you want; they're safer and more likely to be effective. If you have a choice between a new $60 brand name drug and an older $10 generic, there's a strong, but not absolute, chance that the cheaper one does the same thing as well or better, despite any marketing hype. Keep this in mind - drug companies probably don't have your interests in mind when it comes to new products.

2 - Drug advertising on public television. Seriously, what is up with this? Drugs aren't a luxury sedan. They're not something you go and "ask your doctor about" -- the reason they're prescribed is because the doc is supposed to decide when and how much you get of them. Nowadays, I've heard quite a few general practitioners don't give a damn and will prescribe you anything that's not scheduled, provided you saw it on the teevee. I'm sure no one here needs this advice, but unless you have a condition that warrants it, don't fuck with your biochemistry. Your body tries damn hard to maintain homeostasis for a reason.

Basically, the drug industry has started to model itself as a purveyor of consumer lifestyle products rather than medicine, mainly because there's a truckload more money in it. Don't trust it. Before taking a drug, do some research and be your own backup doc.
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Old 12-29-2006, 05:09 AM   #3
SamIAm
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Default Re: Cost of meds

A couple quick comments of my own:

I've spent a while living in Japan, and I've been treated for mild food poisoning and an ingrown toenail in Japanese hospitals. Here, they actually have a sort of socialized health-care system. It's not that the government pays for everything, but rather they completely manage all health insurance, which is paid for by citizens somewhat like taxes. This not only keeps the price of insurance way down (about $150/year for a single person), but it also keeps medical care really cheap in general. The government insurance pays for 70% of all medical charges, excluding things like cosmetic surgery, and they hound the medical clinics to make sure they aren't overcharging. The result? You'll wind up paying in Japan maybe 1/5 of what you would pay for any given treatment in America, and as far as I can tell, the quality of the care is just as good. They may be a small step behind in terms of having the latest technologies, but their facilities and staff are completely up to par. Medications are included in all of this. I was given a few prescriptions, and they cost me about $5 each.

Also, although I have no source for this, I have heard that the pharmaceutical industry spends more money on advertising than they do on research and development of new medicines.

If you ask me, health-care is one of the biggest internal problems in America today.
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Old 12-29-2006, 05:18 AM   #4
Lenophis
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Default Re: Cost of meds

<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr>

If you ask me, health-care is one of the biggest internal problems in America today.

<hr></blockquote>
It is a very major problem, and it was 10 years in the making. Nobody wanted to do anything about it, now it's too late. Bush 1, Clinton, and Bush 2 have done nothing to try and fix it, and it's just getting progressively worse and worse.
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Old 12-29-2006, 06:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cost of meds

> It is a very major problem, and it was 10 years in the
> making. Nobody wanted to do anything about it, now it's too
> late. Bush 1, Clinton, and Bush 2 have done nothing to try
> and fix it, and it's just getting progressively worse and
> worse.

No incentive to fix it. If any of the fat cats in the government get sick, they'll be given whatever they need by the drug companies that bought them.

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Old 12-29-2006, 05:26 PM   #6
puduhead
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Default Re: Cost of meds

> Discuss in a backroom fashion.

refer to the pharmaceutical parody movie by Kids in the Hall - Brain Candy

in a nutshell, whatever moral decency that may have once existed in the pharmaceutical industry is gone.

i am aghast by the state of things - it is a business afterall, not a charity movement. you do not keep market share by affordably making everyone better.

i despise the healthcare industry. i believe one should explore all homeopathic and other natural and holistic remedies before consorting with the number 1 drug pusher in this nation.
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Old 12-30-2006, 02:19 AM   #7
Diskeater
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Default Re: Cost of meds

> I read somewhere that prescription drugs have the highest
> markup of pretty much any product available. As in, they
> cost literally pennies to produce.

My .02:

The cost is largely due to R&D, marketing...crap like that. That's why (I believe) different strengths of the same drug aren't necessarily different prices.
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Old 12-30-2006, 03:46 PM   #8
JadussD
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Default Re: Cost of meds

> i despise the healthcare industry. i believe one should
> explore all homeopathic and other natural and holistic
> remedies before consorting with the number 1 drug pusher in
> this nation.

Or use spiritual/energy healers or learn to do it yourself. Anyone can do it if they put enough time into learning it.
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Old 12-30-2006, 04:23 PM   #9
SwampGas
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Default Re: Cost of meds

> Or use spiritual/energy healers or learn to do it yourself.
> Anyone can do it if they put enough time into learning it.

Um. My eye was irritated because I had a cold last week which compromised my immune system. My eyes already were filled with bacteria, but it was under control. Compromised immune system means the bacteria got out of control, caused an infection, and as a response, my eyes were itchy, watery, difficulty in bright light, etc. The way to fix said infection is to use the meds in my original post...something to kill the bacteria during the day, something to stop the puffiness, and a more aggressive thing to kill the bacteria at night.

Spiritual energy wouldn't fix it. Antibiotics fix it.
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Old 12-30-2006, 06:56 PM   #10
CEpeep
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Default Re: Cost of meds

> Spiritual energy wouldn't fix it. Antibiotics fix it.

I hear if you rub acetone into your eyes and meditate on the results, you can attain a higher sense of being.
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