Drugged and Dangerous

Or more appropriately, UN-drugged and dangerous.

Ever since we switched to the My Blue independent health care plan in January, we’ve had nothing but trouble.  In the 35 years we had Blue Cross Blue Shield group health insurance, we never had a complaint about their service.  In the three months since we’ve had the independent version, we’ve had nothing but.

The situation with prescription medications has been the most problematic.  My husband takes two very important medications to control the pain from his peripheral neuropathy.  He’s been taking them for over five years, and they were always covered under our group BCBS plan.   When the first medication came up for renewal in February, the My Blue plan would not cover it unless he tried a  different (cheaper) medication for 30 days.  During the weeks they made us wait for this momentous decision, he ran out of the original medication and went into withdrawal symptoms which put him virtually out of commission for nearly a week.  The medication they finally approved not only didn’t control his pain symptoms, it made him sick to his stomach.  So for the rest of the month, he felt horrible.   And they’ve still not “authorized” the original medication.

With this experience under our belt, we started early to get “authorization” for his other medication, which we knew was very expensive.  It also has no equivalent, being the only type of drug in its classification.  But even with advance planning, he still ran out of it and went into withdrawal again.

But those symptoms were nothing compared to the sticker shock he got at the pharmacy.  Even though BCBS finally authorized coverage for this medication, the co-pay on the My Blue account is so much higher that the price tag was nearly $800 for a three month supply.  (For comparison purposes, we were paying $120 for three months with our previous group coverage.)

So now he’s faced with the unpleasant prospect of weaning off these medications, which most assuredly will mean constant pain and debilitation, or taking on a second job at McDonald’s to pay for them.

Actually, that might not be a bad idea, because he might be able to get group health care coverage at Mickey D’s.

So when I heard about Canada Drug Center earlier today, I couldn’t wait to click over and take a look around.  I have several friends who order prescription medications from Canadian pharmacies, and now I understand why.  The site is easy to use, they have some great reviews and accreditations, and best of all, their prices on some very expensive drugs are much more affordable.  They stock OTC medications too, at a substantial savings.  Although they only offer one of the medications Jim currently needs, being able to get one of them is better than nothing.  And when my osteoporosis medication comes up for renewal, I’ll be bypassing the American pharmacy completely.

I believe that the costs associated with health care, health insurance, and prescription drugs are the most serious problems facing this country in the 21st century.   If something can’t be done to contain the costs within these industries, God only know what’s going to happen to us.

In the meantime, at least, I’m grateful there’s an opportunity for a little relief just across the Canadian border.


2 thoughts on “Drugged and Dangerous

  1. $800 a quarter? Good Lord.

    I’ve seen that figure, too…it was the cost I would have been paying each month to cover myself and my spouse under the group plan that Blue Cross (and most other insurers) wanted to offer my company when they moved to Texas. It’s no wonder that my boss canceled the policy instead. Better to be employed without insurance than unemployed without it because the insurance company bankrupted your employer.

    Good for you. I hear that many folks have been using Canadian order-by-Internet pharmacies for some time now, resulting in significant savings. I’ve read that big pharma companies sell their medications at much higher price points here in the U.S. so they can use the American consumer to subsidize the cost of the drugs in the rest of the world, which tend to be lower. I assume we’re supposed to feel philanthropic about being socked with it.

    Incidentally, the U.S. Government and the FDA (under the guise of “making sure things are safe for you”) are trying to outlaw the practice of purchasing prescription medication from outside the country at vendors like online Canadian pharmacies. Ostensibly this is because they “cannot be sure” that the drugs you import have passed their supposedly rigorous safety inspections. In reality, I’d imagine that it’s nothing more than the big pharma political lobby protecting its golden goose egg.

    People who may be conspiracy theorists claimed when the government subsidized health care plan was enacted that it was designed to drive up costs of private insurance so high that people would be forced economically into the government plan. Otherwise who in their right mind would choose insurance from the inept bureaucracy that is the U.S. government? Looks like we all will, if it’s the only thing we can afford. In the end, perhaps that’s better than nothing.

  2. Yeah, I think the whole health care/prescription drug thing is the biggest outrage perpetrated on the American people ever. We need a Tea Party just to protest that whole industry alone. I’d do anything I could to thwart them.

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