Saturday, June 21, 2014


    I had written about the price of the drugs in past under similar title . I thought of writing again about the same topic as i have seen no change in cost of drugs with all the new things that are suppose to occur with new or change in law related to health care.
   I tend to clear my messages in my office about 2 to 3 times a day.First time is around 1030 AM , then when I come to office at 12 noon or little latter, and again at 4-30 PM when patients are done.Invariably 2-3 messages are asking for the 'samples'.Either it is because of the sample that I gave has worked and now they are ordering 3 months supply and need a sample and before it comes, need a sample or their insurance co-pay is too high and they are going to order from Canada,or they can't afford it and 'want' the samples.I am fully aware of the cost of many drugs that I prescribe and so I can understand it.I never think that the samples that I get or the 'pens' that they give my office staff is a 'gift' and they can buy me with it . The associations of physicians feel that we should not accept these gifts as they are 'bribes'. I don't agree with it . I believe that if it was not for the drug reps. many of the physicians would not know about new advances and will not be in position to try expensive medicines or for that matter usual drugs.Take for example simple , known , old drugs like Advair or Symbicort, used as a standard treatment of bronchial asthma or COPD.If I decide to prescribe it ,it costs over $200 for every inhaler. So if patient buys it and can't tolerate it then $200 is down the drain.So I am not sure how any one can afford the medicines that we physicians prescribe.
     The cost of medicines has gone up and not down. The other day I was given some 10 tablet of a medicine. When I prescribe this drug, it is sent to patient directly by specialty pharmacy.I know it is expensive. But when I was told that I should keep them in a 'safe' place as the cost was more than $3000, I almost fainted. I knew the yearly cost , but it had not 'sunk' in my mind how much one pill costs.
     I am revisiting this issue as I often see most of the physicians' journals singing praising the new law about the health care and no one points out that it has not reduced the cost , nor it has made it any easier to practice medicine.Second reason was a visit by some drug reps.There is a new drug on the market to treat a disease called Sarcoidosis.As usual when I see a new drug I ask for the cost of the drug. Even though I know that drugs cost and cost too much , when I heard the price of this new drug, my mouth was wide open and I passed out. The 5ml vial costs $30,000.(NO I DID NOT ADD A ZERO BY MISTAKE )!!!!!!  


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