Prohibitive drug costs up close and personal

I got a good dose today of what’s wrong with U.S. healthcare and why it is killing the American economy.

$105 for this!?

I went to the drug store to pick up a colonoscopy prep that cleans out you system so the gastroenterologist has clear sailing, so to speak. You might say TMI, but the colonoscopy is routine for the over 50 crowd and over 40 if there’s colon cancer in your family.

The druggist said “that will be $35.”

I shot back, “wait a minute, I have insurance.”

“That’s with insurance. The total cost is $105,” he said ($105.99 to be exact). I was outraged. For two six ounce cough medicine bottles of sheer misery, a plastic cup and a box, $105! ¬†The ingredients sound far from exotic – sodium sulfate, potassium sulfate and¬†magnesium sulfate. It must be that #5 plastic mixing cup.

The product is called Suprep Bowel Prep Kit from Braintree Laboratories and the fine print FAQ does not disclose the price. If you have insurance, why triffle yourself with the total price? It doesn’t matter, right?

It DOES matter.

The druggist was in a chatty mood and gave me another example of how drug companies are gouging the American public (the druggist says the fault lay was the private insurance payers, but I am not sure I understood his point.).

Anyhow, another customer plunked down a $100 co-pay for 30 pills of the Abilify anti-depressant. A $100 co-pay was unusual so he looked up the full price – $900 for 30 pills in that particular dosage. Is it any wonder health insurance and healthcare costs are bankrupting America? And there are much more extreme examples than this, reminding me of the $600 hammers the military used to buy…or I hope used to.

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