In the past three weeks, I personally have encountered the confusing maze of prescriptions drug prices and discovered I don’t understand it and probably never will. My family is healthy for the most part. As a consumer, mom, and bankruptcy attorney, I became very disheartened by three things in the last three weeks.
Incident #1: During a recent bout with the flu at my house, my child’s physician felt it prudent to prescribe Tamiflu for my daughter and two other children. He also recommended my husband and I both take it. The cost of the medicine was approximately $200.00 per person, or $1,000.00. My insurance covered nothing. Luckily, I discovered prescription discount cards and coupons which lowered the price significantly.
Incident #2: My second encounter with the ridiculousness of the pharmaceutical industry came when I attempted to fill a prescription for my two year old’s epi pen. Once again, insurance would not cover the name brand, and it would be $600.00. Although the physician had written the prescription for the name brand and generic, the pharmacy explained there is a back-order on the generic with no date given for when it would be available. After calling the physician’s office to ask for a prescription for another generic that my insurance would cover, I was told the physician would not write it, because he believed it did not work. Ironically, they knew of a program offered by another pharmaceutical company who makes a comparable epi pen and would give us one for free. I participated in the program, but what about the next time I need to fill the prescription?
Incident #3: My child’s allergy physician happened to ask me what I do for a living at our most recent visit. I told him I represent consumers in bankruptcy. He said he gets bankruptcy notices all of the time, and he said he did not understand why people run up all this debt and then file bankruptcy and don’t pay him. He said he never sends anyone a bill for more than $1,500.00. I kindly reminded him that the majority of the people who I help file bankruptcy have done so due to huge medical expenses, job loss, divorce or some unexpected and unfortunate event, and his medical bill is usually not the only one. I explained that his theory on bankruptcy is completely wrong and I just don’t encounter careless spenders as he perceived.
My point to all of this is that the cost of prescription drugs is ridiculous, and there are a lot of people who have an incorrect understanding of bankruptcy. I have been told by so many clients who went without their needed medications and medical treatments due to lack of funds, and a lot who have had to charge these expenses on credit cards. Had I not had someone tell me to look for coupons, call to ask for a different prescription or shopped around a little, I would have spent a lot more money. It seems crazy and unfair to make people chase down the best price for something as basic as medicine. If you have encountered issues with medicines, it is always a good idea to tell the doctor and pharmacist you cannot afford it and ask what alternatives are out there rather than going without your medicine. Our attorneys do understand your struggles and offer a listening ear. If you have trouble paying bills, please contact one of our Bond and Botes locations for a free consultation.