Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Rant - The Cost of Medicines

A very expensive medicine
I have a whole host of diseases and conditions. Most of these I can manage without medicine, but a few I need my meds to be able to function. Thankfully most of my medicine is fairly cheap and doesn't become too much of a burden financially.  But I think the cost of some medicines is insane and it’s price gouging a lot of the time.  I had an experience with this lately with some new eczema medicine.

A little bit of background on my issues with eczema. I've always had dry skin since I was a kid, but I always just though it was dry skin. About six or seven years ago, my skin was so dry that I was scratching it until I bled. I tried some home remedies that didn't work so I ended up at the dermatologist’s office where I was prescribed with very bad eczema.

Many people with eczema will have a patch here or there on their bodies, but I have patches pretty much on my whole body. My upper torso is worse than my bottom. My arms and neck are always hotspots for me, but I can get patches anywhere. The only thing that works is a medicated crème.

Last week, I had to go to my yearly visit to my dermatologist to get my prescription refilled. These visits usually annoy me because the doctor usually is with me for less than five minutes with me just saying that I still have eczema and him refilling my crème. It’s usually an expensive five minutes that can cost me $60 after insurance covers some.

But this year, I saw a new doctor to the practice. He went over my symptoms and checked me out. I liked him a lot better than my normal doctor. He also prescribed me a new medicine called Protopic along with my crème. The nurse gave me some samples of the Protopic along with a $40 off coupon. That made me a little nervous about the cost.

I took my prescriptions to my local pharmacy and picked them up a few days later because the crème can take a while to be ready because it’s a compound. When the lady at the pharmacy looked up my account, she thought I might have an insurance issue because the bill was nearly $200!

After being sent to the drop off window, another pharmacy tech looked up my account and said my insurance was fine. It was just that the Protopic was $180 even after insurance. He also said in a sympathetic voice that it was just the small tube.

While the samples had worked pretty well, I wasn't about to pay $180 for a tube of something that wouldn’t last very long. I opted to get my crème and another prescription that I had refilled. The bill for those came up to $20.

I am just annoyed by the cost of that Protopic. I have to wonder what is in it that makes it so expensive, yet I have probably over $100 in free sample of the stuff. I know that I’m lucky and most of my medicine is pretty cheap but it just seems like such a racket to me. 


  1. what's the creme you usually use? I use Elidel and it works like a charm.$9 co-pay.

  2. I'm not sure what it's called - it's a compound. It's only $10 after insurance.