Mom always said the best gift was one that wasn’t expected. Most of the time it’s the gift that didn’t cost the giver anything but was of great value to the receiver.
When Mom said that it was a “not so subtle” hint that she wanted more time, not stuff. (Gotta love her. She was not a subtle person! I know, the apple does not fall far from the tree.)
This past month I’ve been wrestling with the whole drug price issues. There is a new one for dry eye that actually works for me but it’s priced outrageously. There is a chance I’ll be able to get it discounted (I’ve applied) but usually I don’t qualify. You have to be poorer than dirt. The irony is that people who could qualify don’t go to the doctor unless it’s seriously life threatening.
Over the years I have given or received (legal) drugs from other people. When I had a diabetic cat, I was lucky to get the insulin supply of a friend (my cat only responded to people insulin) who was put on an insulin pump. She no longer needed her injectable supply. That was a savings of over $500.
When I was diagnosed with cancer they took me off an estrogen-based drug for osteopenia. It was costly so I gifted my remaining supply to a friend who was also on it.
I’ve shared Valium with a friend who was scheduled for an MRI. (Yes I know I’m not supposed to do that. What friend would let someone they cared about go through the MRI with the jack hammer going outside their head when they could help?)
The thing is that you don’t know when people are on medications. Unless you are incredibly boring, that’s not an upbeat topic of conversation. So how do you do it?
I have a friend who has just about every chronic illness known to man (excluding leprosy). It’s not imagined. She has rheumatoid arthritis and one look at her deformed hands and feet tell the story. That’s an immune disease that makes you susceptible to lots of stuff. If the disease doesn’t, the medications you take, do.
She has been an encyclopedia of information about health, doctors and drugs because she’s had a lot of experience.
Recently I sought her advice on the eye drug. Her doc had put her on it in the fall and it didn’t work for her. She had a small supply that she happily handed over to me. That will last me until I find out if I qualify for reduced costs. This particular product is packaged in individual daily tubes so there is no chance of contamination.
She was happy she wasn’t throwing it out. I was delighted I would have a good chance to try it (takes a few weeks to work) before making a decision.
It made me wonder why we can’t do that more broadly. Some meds are packaged in a way that you know there were no grubby hands fingering it. Why can’t they be shared?
Better still, why can’t some drugs come in a small “trial” quantity (at a low cost) so you know if it works before you plunk down your high-end co-pay (trust me any drug developed after 1980 is costly).
My friend, because of extensive health issues, qualifies for low-cost drugs but she still had to pay out a healthy co-pay for an eye drop she couldn’t use.
This is an area that could use a good “look see” to improve it. I don’t understand why drugs are cheaper in other countries.
Let me be clear. I am not talking about self-diagnosis or taking a drug that isn’t approved by your doc. I am talking about low-cost ways to get a drug your doc thinks may help.
As a postscript, this drug was recommended by a doctor who specializes in dry eye treatments. My own eye doc won’t even talk about it. His take is “no one wants to pay for it so what’s the point?”
He is right. That is unless you are a tenacious person who tries all the angles.
So dear readers, if you have any tips in how to manage high drug costs, I am all ears.