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America's Drug Companies Complaint - Cost of Medications

Review by Starlord on 2008-02-06
CASA GRANDE, ARIZONA -- I am so pig-biting mad right now, I can't stand it! Among other health problems, I suffer from COPD. I was referred to a pulmonologist by my regular doctor, and the pulmonologist, a pretty nice doctor prescribed Advair for my breathing problems. I went to get the prescription filled,and almost fainted when the pharmacist said it would cost $289 PER MONTH! I am on Social Security Disability Insurance, and the cost of Advair is a third of my monthly income. It doesn't cure cancer or heart disease. It doesn't even cure my diabetes or the pain from two bad discs or a prosthetic knee joint. I told them there was no way I could afford that, so the doctor's office said we would go with Flo-vent instead of the Advair. Turns out the Flo-vent is still over $200 per month. All these medications do is make breathing a bit easier, and that is not worth a healthy chunk of my income. Now I really am not surprised about the stories of elderly people living on cat food so they can buy medicine. I have insurance that works with Medicare, but it really doesn't do anything for me, or any other person who needs expensive drugs.

Now, I am not opposed to the drug companies making a reasonable profit, but this is ridiculous. I will just get more used to having breathing problems. I just wonder what they suggest I give up so I can breathe a bit easier. My house? maybe meals? How about our car? Maybe doctors can afford medications like this, I sure can't.

To the makers of Advair and Flo-vent, observe where my sports coat has that little vent slit. Kiss about 6 inches below that.
Comments:21 Replies - Latest reply on 2008-02-08
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-06:
Sometimes the drug companies can supply the drugs to you for free if you qualify, which you very well may. Check out their web sites. If that doesn't work, ask your doctor's office to find out for you. They may already have the info available. Also, you didn't mention what drug store you went to, but I think I heard Wal-Mart has cheaper RX's. I don't shop there, but I would definitely check out the price of their RX's if need be.
Posted by Principissa on 2008-02-06:
Star, I understand you frustration, believe me. When my grandpa was alive the medications for his CHF, high blood pressure, and renal failure cost well over 500.00 a month. We ended up paying for the meds because we didn't want them to go broke to stay alive. I want you to take a look at this site, hopefully it will be of some help for you both. http://www.ucp.org/ucp_channeldoc.cfm/1/16/10527/10527-10527/2484
GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Advair have a discount program for people on limited incomes and the elderly. Pfizer and Bristol Myers Squib also have the same type of programs. I know it's not much but I hope it helps. I am not sure on the severity of your COPD, or how frequent exacerbations are, but there are other treatments available using less expensive drugs. If you can talk to your doctor about alternative therapies such as steroid pills or theophylline.
Posted by MSCANTBEWRONG on 2008-02-06:
Is that the price for generic? or do they even make a generic? Maybe you should research some of the Canadian online pharmacies...
Posted by Principissa on 2008-02-06:
MS the generic is fluticasone propionate and salmeterol oral inhaler, and it costs just a little less than the brand. I checked before I posted. :(
Posted by MSCANTBEWRONG on 2008-02-06:
Well that just stinks...Hopefully some of the programs you and dianec suggested may be helpful...Best of luck to you Star...
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-06:
Starlord, we went to a little town in Mexico right over the border think it was called Algodones (just south of Yuma). Most of the town was pharmacies selling drugs and medicine to Americans. The prices were about 1/2 of what we have to pay. Same stuff just being sold in Mexico. Makes you wonder what's going on?
Posted by Nohandle on 2008-02-06:
Many prescription drugs are brought back from Mexico. No lawsuits there. Think about it.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-06:
Super, I was just thinking about the drugs in Mexico. My hairdresser recently told me that her mom goes to Yuma to replenish her RX's a couple times a year because they are so much cheaper--even more than 1/2. The RX's are identical and she has never had a problem with them at all. I guess the drug companies just like to rip off us "rich American's". If I ever need expensive drugs, I know where I'm going.
Posted by MSCANTBEWRONG on 2008-02-06:
We saw a lot of pharmacies selling medicines very cheaply when we were in Belize...it does make you wonder!!
Posted by StraightShooter on 2008-02-06:
"pig biting mad". I like that!
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-06:
Amen to that, starlord! My doctor just changed a medicine for me. I have 70% coverage on medications - previously the medication cost $30/month. The new medication will cost me $170/month - that's after the insurance company pays their portion. It's something that is life/death for me, so I have no choice. The old stuff wasn't working, so I guess there's a reason this stuff costs more $$. But, does it really have to cost so much? I know a certain percentage must go to research, but some of this is out of hand.
Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2008-02-07:
With all these new miracle drugs at our disposal, has anyone else noticed that very few of them actually cure anything? They are all maintenance drugs - once they get you started on them you are to take them forever. Nice little income stream, eh?
Posted by Ponie on 2008-02-07:
Canada gets a lot of pharmacy business in my area. Hugh, I agree with your statement. However, until cures are found, do we have any choice? Yeah--I guess we could suffer more and die earlier, but otherwise that's it. Starlord, I see Montel Williams advertising a program called (I think) PPA. Maybe they can help you.
Posted by Ponie on 2008-02-07:
PPA's address is: http://www.freemedicinerevolution.com/?gclid=CJ_PkZfGspECFQUsPAodaXp_ew

Good luck.
Posted by CrystalSword on 2008-02-07:
Ponie, we tried PPA....the prescriptions that we normally pay $5 for they want $20 for...I printed out all their information and that one isn't gonna happen for us either!
Posted by Ponie on 2008-02-07:
Wow, Crystal. What a bummer!
Posted by Starlord on 2008-02-07:
I want to thank everyone for your kind words and to apologize for venting. I was already in pain from my back and knee, and a hacking cough that has my head about to explode, when I get told a medication that doesn't do very much at all is going to cost me almost $300 just put me over the edge. I don't vent often, but I appreciate everyone trying to help rather than pounding me into a shapeless blob. This is one of the main reasons I like it here, the people are so good.
Posted by GothicSmurf on 2008-02-07:
observe where my sports coat has that little vent slit. Kiss about 6 inches below that->

PRICELESS!
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-02-07:
Starlord, your sure not alone. We have Blue Cross, five years ago we paid a $5 co-pay for any RX. Two years ago we were paying $5 for generic and $20 for brand name. This year we are now paying $10 for generic and $40 for brand name. And this is with quote "a good PPO medical plan".

Last month I asked the pharmacy what my cost would be on a RX if I did not use my prescript card. He checked and it was $11.00, my co-pay was $10.00? Is there something wrong here? I would say so.
Posted by CrystalSword on 2008-02-08:
Everyone cross your fingers, we may have found an answer for him getting Advair after all!
Posted by Starlord on 2008-02-08:
I called GlaxoSmithKline this morning, ready to tear them a new one. The CSR I got, Alice, was just so sweet and helpful, she defused my mad. It turns out that GSK has a procedure where I can apply for a special program with the company that will get my Asvair at no cost. I have to fill out an application and document income and prescription expenses. Super, my mother worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Indiana, so you can't tell me anything that is either surprising or unbelievable.

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