Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Don't Just Say Yes to High Price Medicines

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Don't Just Say Yes to High Price Medicines

Article excerpt

Byline: Zorba Paster

Dear Doc: You've been harping on overcharging for drugs by pharmacies, so let me chime in with an experience I had. A very poor guy who helped me around the farm developed a rash that looked to me like Lyme disease. But what do I know?

My good doctor friend with a heart of gold told me he'd look at it for no charge. The guy had no insurance, living from hand to mouth. The doc took a look, agreed it was Lyme disease, and off we went with what was supposed to be a $30 antibiotic prescription.

I was happy as a lark until I was ready to pay for it at the pharmacy - they told me it was $105. That's a lot higher than I thought. It blew my mind.

My first thought was the doc was wrong. What do you guys know about how much prescriptions cost? But my doc friend was adamant that this was not an expensive drug. So I told the clerk that they must be wrong - it was supposed to be $30.

The pharmacist then came over, telling me that if we joined their prescription club for $20 a year, they would reduce my prescription cost to just $15. You have it right: $20 to join the "club" and $15 for the drug, for a total of $35.

Now, was I upset? You bet I was. Why didn't they tell me this before? I confronted them about this, but their answer did not pass the "sniff" test, if you know what I mean. So I wrote to their headquarters. I wrote them a formal letter, not an email, demanding a response.

A week later, I got a call from some PR guy who, and I quote, thanked me "for sharing this." Uh, huh. Really? Thank me for sharing this?

I wanted to share this with as many people as I could, which is why I'm writing to you.

- A.N. from Wisconsin

Dear A.N.: Thanks for sharing. The issue here, I think is "bait and switch." If they can get you to pay full price, why not do that and make a bigger profit, about $70 more? …

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