Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What's It Worth to You?

It's a weird business we're in, this medicine stuff.  In my oft-repeated role as a highly-paid cashier, I am tasked with telling people how much their medicine purchase totals up to.  In any other retail situation, we approach the cashier with a pretty good idea of how much we're going to pay.  In pharmacy-- not so much, because there is usually a 3rd party payer involved who picks up some of the tab -- a lot or a little, thus leaving a lot or a little for us to CO-pay.

People's definition of what a "lot or a little" is can be surprising, to say the least.  This week I had a customer fork out $180 for a topical steroid product without batting an eye.  Later on I checked someone out with four prescriptions, including some moderately pricey stuff, and his copay was $6.00. "WOW!!" he exclaimed, in all seriousness.  "You guys are gonna BREAK me!"

I don't know where people got the idea that all medications should be cheap.  (and actually, a lot of them are.)  But something that is potentially life-saving, life changing, and keeps you out of the hospital (where $6.00 wouldn't even get you into the parking ramp?)  Don't make me feel like some kind of shyster for asking for your payment.

YOU can decide what it's worth to you.


Anonymous said...

They think meds are expensive because they perceive them as expenses instead of investments.

SciFi Pharmacist Guy said...

It's amazing how people react when it's comes to their medicine. Some people will spend hundreds of dollars on a new iPad, but raise a fit about their $19.00 blood pressure meds. I can see the apprehension in their eyes waiting to hear the price as I'm ringing up their meds. People are all about their health benefits when the topic arises at their jobs, but assume pharmacists are making up the prices when they show up at the pharmacy.

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Zed said...

It's interesting and confusing how the system works in other countries. Here, if you're not eligible for free prescriptions you pay one price. That may be great for really expensive medications, but not so much for a 40p pack of paracetamol