Ben Oostdam Story # 205


Under pressure to investigate some of the political issues prior to the upcoming midterm elections, I investigated my latest set of drug receipts. As of now, I am taking some 15 prescription drugs - probably accounting for my continuous dizzy daze and subsequent semi-survival.

Every time I pick up my prescriptions called in by phone to Weis Pharmacy, I am astounded at their exorbitant costs. On the other hand, sometimes I am getting Highmark/Blue Cross or Shield reimbursement checks, the last one being the first to pass the $ 1,200 mark, to me somewhat equivalent to as well as synchronous with a 12,000 DOW.

Following below, the top three sets of receipts are arranged first by decreasing costs per 30 pills, then alphabetically from A to Z.

Weis Pharmacy Receipts
arranged by decreasing
costs per 30 pills.

(please click
to enlarge)

The total cost of these 15 prescriptions amounts to US$ 915.09, ranging from $ 7.10 to $ 157.54, averaging $ 61,01 .
Note that Weis offers a welcome 10% discount. In addition, they print on some receipts either "Generic Savings" or "Possible Savings" with the relevant amount. Trying to find out the meaning, I called Weis' pharmacist and we agreed that the "Generic Savings" had already been incorporated in the price, e.g cholchicine shows generic savings of $ 61.09, leaving a total of $ 9.49, minus discount of $ 0.95, leaving a "YOU PAY" of $ 8.54

As to the term "Possible Savings" I am still awaiting his explanation.
For example, note there are two separate receipts for Pravachol, each for $ 157.54, but the 01/17/06 (original) receipt does not show "Possible Savings", whereas the 09/15/06 (duplicate) receipt does show "Possible Savings of $ 116.48.
Interestingly, I found out that Pravachol has had a generic substitute since April 2006! Does that entitle me to a refund of say 5 x $ 116.48 if my Physician allowed generic substitution as I have requested "generically" ?!

Three recommendations :

  • shop around for the best price
  • insist on generic substitutes
  • order 90 instead of 30 pills
  • LINKS:
  • Don't swallow needless
    prescription drug costs

    Lawrence Walsh:
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
    Friday, October 13, 2006

  • Best Buy Drugs
    Consumer Report

  • Weis Pharmacy Receipts
    arranged alphabetically
    A - Z

    (please click
    to enlarge)

    My next concern was to find a matrix, table or program which would allow one to check incompatibilities of specified drugs. A Yahoo search came up with 850,000 refs for "incompatible drugs", or by adding "matrix", 51,600 ("table" 285,000). Too much work, so I phrased the question to YAHOO, asking to be E-mailed when replies would come in.
    Within an hour, I had two replies, the second one, provided by "NewLungs2004" being almost perfect: go to a program published by EDrugDigest!

    Following are the five pages of (13) drug interactions for the 14 drugs I entered in said program:


    In conclusion, I quote some links to a problem many of us share:

    Treating Elevated Cholesterol and Heart Disease: The Statins Consumer Report
    Statin Choices incl. cost comparison Consumer Report

    BLO fecit 20061022 - stories