Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Drug Dealings

Being in my fifties, my drug of choice nowadays is an anti-inflammatory. Although I swear I got wacked out on allergy medicine the other night and saw that girl from the Disney Channel pole dancing.

I never had much truck with the illegal stuff - I'm paranoid enough. But a recent story on CBS News had me thinking about the prescription drugs I take. It seems the Administration is trying to cook up a deal with the pharmaceutical companies in order to save the Obama health-care plan. This is what my dealings with "Big-Pharma" have been like:

Back in the days when I had a full-time job I had two prescriptions. Lisinopril, the generic form of Zestril, for my high-blood pressure and Liptitor for my cholesterol (to treat a pre-existing love of bacon).

At Duane Reade with the insurance (Cigna) co-pay a thirty-day supply of Lisinopril costs $10 and a thirty-day supply of Lipitor was $30. Not bad really, or so I thought.

Then I lost my full-time job and with it my insurance co-pay. The price of Zestril went to $60 and Lipitor was $175. For one month's worth. Even the people at Duane Reade were aghast.

I had heard Pfizer was giving free medications to those who have been laid-off so I found their website and applied to the "Pfizer Maintain" program (as in "maintain your reliance on our drugs). I was accepted and they quickly sent me a 90-day supply of Lipitor for $0.

Soon thereafter I went to see the doctor and she poo-pooed Lipitor and put me on a generic statin called Simvastatin instead.

So I went to The Rite Aid pharmacy around the corner from my apartment (Duane Reade's long lines were worsening my blood pressure) and they told me the 90-day prescription for both Lisinopril and Simvasatin would cost me about $165. But then they took mercy on me and gave me a Rite Aid Prescription Card. With the card a 90-day supply of both medications was $35. Repeat - 90-days worth of both for $35.

So my question is: How much does this stuff REALLY cost?

And does the Administration really want to deal with these weasels? Obviously they are pumping us and the insurance companies (not that I have any love for them) for every buck they can get. These pills must cost pennies to make - if that.

P.S. Upon hearing that I had lost my job my doctor insisted on giving me a tetanus shot - perhaps she's concerned I'll be dumpster-diving soon.

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