Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Trip 2

At one point, I visited an old college friend who is now a pharmacist. He made a couple of observations that I found interesting:

1. His job is absolutely miserable. Overworked; on his feet for 14 hours a day; constantly dealing with sick and impatient customers who are angry that their prescriptions cost so much or that their insurance didn't cover something.

2. His gut instinct was that Americans use too many prescription drugs, and that their usage would go down if insurance didn't cover so many prescription drugs. He said, for example, that he'll see people come in who are on 15 or 20 meds, half of which are unnecessary for their conditions. But then as soon as he tells them that a particular med isn't covered by their insurance, they always say, "Well, put that one back; I may come back for it later." Then they never come back for it.

Another example of over-expenditures: He filled a prescription for a new and expensive antibiotic that costs upwards of $75, but then the customer's insurance didn't cover it. When he told the customer the cost, the customer demanded that he call the doctor, at which point the doctor said that amoxycillin (a cheap generic) would do as well. This made him wonder why the doctor didn't prescribe the cheaper drug in the first place.

A third point he made was that if insurance didn't cover so many drugs, the drug companies would find a way to lower their prices, simply because they would realize that a particular drug would never sell if people had to pay $100+ out of pocket.

I wonder if there's any way to quantify the amount of money that Americans waste each year precisely because of insurance, which encourages customers to use more expensive drugs more often than necessary, and which encourages drug companies to jack up prices.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home