Thursday, April 3, 2008


You hear about it. Read about it. But you won't believe the prices of name brand medications until you have to pay out-of-pocket. The big pharmaceuticals? RXtortionists. I'm hoping to beat them at the money game and save the bucks for, well, anything else. My not-so-private scheme has taken off, hopefully to succeed. What? Why? U.S. consumers are bankrolling huge salaries, expensive packaging and humongous advertising costs in the pharm industry. Think about all those television ads and multi-page glossy print ads. In short, the pharmaceuticals are riding the gravy train on your my money, your money -- our money. I refuse to be squeezed. This all began two weeks ago when mail order drugs arrived with a bill for $260. I went ballistic and then starting crying, bawling. Alas, I had reached the Medicare Part D "donut hole" and would be paying exorbitant prices for non generic drugs for the next few thousand dollars. No way, I thought. For starters, I called the mail order company and told thm I wouldn't pay for the meds and was sending them back. My tears convinced the customer service rep who agreed to send me a return envelope and label. Convinced I could find a much better price online, I launched a search. No surprise, the entire Google site came up with Canadian online pharmacies, an option I had not considered or researched before. Expecting moderate discounts, I launched my best-price hunt. What I found knocked me over. Not only are Canadian prices dramatically cheaper for name-brand drugs, but most drugs have generics up there north of the border. Comparing costs for three months of two drugs I need, I learned here they would cost me more than $1,000. In Canada, I could buy a generic for one of the meds and the name-brand RX cost one-third of what I would pay at my local pharmacy. My total cost if I were buying in Canada? About $230, also for three months. That is not per med. It's for both. Would it work? Either way, name-brand or generic, I couldn't lose. My concerns were to find a reputable online dispenser and do my best to make certain it was not Joe's fly-by-night prescription service. Let me note here, cheaper drugs are not just for seniors. Anyone who does not have prescription coverage and takes any high price maintenance meds will want to look into the seemingly endless listings of Canadian options. Wading through the pages of companies, comparing prices on different meds (all shipping was less than $10) left me dizzy. Were there any guidelines to finding reputable online pharmacies? Next stop, Turns out the advocacy giant does have a short list what they dub "safety and service standards" for assessing the online pharmacies based north of the border. Taken from the April 2003 AARP "Your Money" article, notes the following: The online pharmacy should have its license number and the agency granting it on the Web site as well as its mailing address and a toll-free number with a real person at the other end. Legit companies require prescriptions, major details of medical history and should provide an explanation of any differences between Canadian and U.S. drug labels. No reputable pharmacy will dispense controlled substances across the border, and any online merchant that states it does not need prescriptions should be avoided. The company I ultimately selected said once it received my faxed prescriptions, someone would contact the doctor to verify. And today that is where this experiment stands. Prescriptions were faxed Wednesday. No doubt, I will be waiting about three to four weeks for this first-time order, but my plan to avoid RXtortion has begun. I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

Beech said...

Hi Mi,
After much ballyhoo (countless squiggly letters to decipher) I have finally found the way to leave a message on your new blog. I wish you well my dear ole pal. This is a great outlet for those like you and me who are compelled to write.
You go, girl!


photo by sarah gross

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About Me

Tinley Park, Illinois
As a longtime newspaperwoman who left the business to freelance, I want to keep in touch with the world. This is my place to reach out with words.