price gouging at the pharmacy

Today I made a trip to the pharmacy to pick up Ben's medication. In the past I hadn't really paid too much attention to how much those medications cost. He's currently on 5 different meds. One for his heart, one for his stomach, and three breathing medications.

Typically when I pick them up they are either $12.00 or $35.00 each depending on what I'm getting and I don't generally get them at the same time. On today's trip the pharmacy tech comes back and say that will be $107.00. $12.00, $35.00 and $60.00. Huh? $60? That got my attention so I asked the obvious question, why so much? "Oh, that one is usually $377.00. Your insurance saved you a lot." GUH! WHAT!

So on further inspection of the receipts from Ben's medications I discover this little notice. "Your insurance saved you $636.17 today." That was for one month worth of breathing medication, this did not include his heart medication or his stomach medication.

My immediate response was, "Holy shit! Thank God we have insurance." My next thought was, "Holy shit! What would we do if we didn't have insurance?" Ben's medications aren't optional, they aren't convenience items. They are critical to his growth and help. What if we couldn't afford them?

So then that got me thinking. I totaled it up. The monthly retail cost of his medications are more than both our car payments combined. Yep, that's right.

Next came the thought to figure out how much each one cost on a per dosage basis. Roughly $34.00 a day for his medications. For medications that are 98% water.

Why? Why does this happen? And how are the pharmaceutical companies getting away with this? I fully realize that science is expensive. I know that. And I have to fully acknowledge that my son would not have lived to be even 2 minutes old if it were not for the miracles brought to us by pharmaceutical companies (and there is not one drop of drama in that sentence – it is 100% the truth). But why are they ripping us off. I know my insurance company is NOT paying even close to the $1000 retail monthly price for Ben's medicine's. And even more astounding to me is the fact that the same pharmaceutical company that is charging the average person $374.00 for a one month supply of ONE asthma medication is GIVING it to my doctor's office for FREE. On the occasion that he can he turns around and gives it to ME for free because it EXPIRES before it gets used. I appreciate that I really do. But I think it's appalling that they have enough of this stuff sitting on shelves going bad because pharmaceutical companies are writing it off as an advertising expense and then turning around and jacking the end consumers cost up to astronomical prices.

I'm so very lucky. I have great insurance. And I have a husband with a fantastic job and it's probable that we could afford Ben's medicine if we didn't have insurance. But what about those that don't have that luxury? What happens to them? What would happen to Ben if we couldn't afford this medication?

I'm more than a little appalled at all these discoveries I've made today. And I'm very interested in all the information I can get about how to help change this system.

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