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Prescription Costs

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Old 06-24-2003, 05:18 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Prescription Costs

I'm posting an e-mail that my wife sent to a few friends. It sounds like an advertisement for Costco, but we checked it out. Brand name drugs are a different matter, but still better than CVS.

"Our neighbor, who does not have a computer, gave me a hard copy of an e-mail his friend received. Following is the text in the e-mail, followed by my own comments. Here's the e-mail:

Since the cost of prescription drugs is so outrageous, I thought everyone I knew should know about this. Please read the following, and pass it on.

On Monday night, Steve Wilson, an investigative reporter for channel 7 news in Detroit, did a story on generic drug price gouging by pharmacies. He found in his investigation, that some of these generic drugs were marked up as much as 3,000% or more. Yes, that's not a typo .... three thousand percent!

So often we blame the drug companies for the high cost of drugs, and usually rightfully so. But in this case, the fault clearly lies with the pharmacies themselves. For example, if you had to buy a prescription drug, and bought the name brand, you might pay $100.00 for 100 pills. The pharmacist might tell you that if you get the generic equivalent, they would only cost $80.00, making you think you are "saving" $20.00. What the pharmacist is not telling you is that those 100 generic pills may have only cost him $10.00! At the end of the report, one of the anchors asked Mr. Wilson whether or not there were any pharmacies that did not adhere to this practice, and he said that Costco consistently charged little over their cost for the generic drugs.

I went to the Costco site, where you can look up any drug, and get it's online price. It says that the in-store prices are consistent with the online prices. I was appalled. Just to give you one example from my own experience, I had to use the drug, Compazine, which helps prevent nausea in chemo patients. I used the generic equivalent, which cost $$54.99 for 60 pills at CVS. I checked the price at Costco, and I could have bought 100 pills for $19.89. For 100 of my pain pills I paid $72.57. I could have got 150 at Costco for $28.08.

I would like to mention that although Costco is a "membership" type store, you do NOT have to be a member to buy prescriptions there, as it is a federally regulated substance. You just tell them at the door that you wish to use the pharmacy, and they will let you in. I am asking each of you to please help me by copying this letter, and pasting it into your own e-mail, and send it to everyone you know with an e-mail address.

My comments:
I checked the prices for my generic meds. at Costco. This writer is telling the truth re: the prices. Since I (and a lot of other people) lost medical insurance coverage, prescription medications have become a major financial burden and sometimes unaffordable, meaning that at times a choice has to be made. The choice is simple. Eat or buy medications."
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Old 06-24-2003, 07:53 PM
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Ed a few months ago, here in Lansing they did the same type of investigation of paharmacies and they found VAST differences in the prices charged by various stores, even including pharmacies from the same chain such as Rite Aid. People that have insurance with a co-pay, don't bother to ask.....their out of pocket expense is the same no matter what. Pharmacies lknow this and exploit that. No one should have to choose between needed medicine or food. It's a sad commentary on our world.

Ken
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Old 06-24-2003, 11:56 PM
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Ed, Ken - they've recently done such an investigative report here also, with similar results -- wide range of prices from pharmacy to pharmacy.

I don't think that they included Costco, and I'm VERY impressed with Costco's online pricing for my thyroid prescription -- not much more than what I pay using my insurance (which I will probably have to drop again after deciding to pay the extremely high premiums this year after sweating thru a scary year without insurance. )

It is perplexing to me how this country can have this obvious problem with people unable to afford basic healthcare or the insurance that would help them cover the costs, but have so little ever said about the problem or possible solution. I guess it's because no one actually knows a workable solution.

Thanks, Ed! I'll be glad to inform my friends, and see if they can save some money.
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Old 06-25-2003, 12:37 PM
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Cj,
You're welcome. That's why I posted it. It's sure worth a look.

Ken,
It's a little surprising to hear that even individual pharmacies from the same chain have a wide range in their prices. That's another thing to keep in mind.

Ed
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