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Thursday, February 6, 2014

What's on my fast rack

During some quiet time at work, I re-organized my "fast rack", the shelves over the pharmacy counter with easy-to-reach, often-used drugs.
In most pharmacies, is the same old stuff:

Lots of cheap, older drugs. Lots of generics.

Not my fast rack! Mine includes Myfortic, Prograf, voriconazole, and Zyvox. Lots of high-dollar stuff, often drugs that are over $1000 a bottle.

But a new drug (not on my fast rack) really takes the cake - I just got access to a limited distribution hepatitis C medication that costs $28,000. That's MY cost. I pay $1000 a tablet wholesale!

The thing is, you aren't paying for the tablet. It's not expensive to actually make the drug. You're paying for:
1. The cost of developing the drug
2. The chance to cure hepatitis C. Who can set the price on a cure?

Meanwhile, my profits? Ha. On one prescription last week, I cleared a full $0.09. Yes, nine cents. That doesn't even cover the cost of the label I put on the bottle.


  1. Wow. Wow.

    That's the thing, though. Who can put a price on NOT being sick?

  2. That's an interesting perspective. I hadn't considered the cost of development, but it is certainly there. The one we will need again soon is prednisone for poison oak, most likely.

  3. We have a family situation that has forced us to learn more about Hep C and Baby Boomers. What's your opinion on wh there are a growing number from this age group contracting it ... drug use in the 60's? We looked into it quite a bit and can't get a solid answer.

    1. We don't actually know very much about Hep C transmission. We know that blood transmits the virus, but we don't know if it's transmittable sexually. And the virus is very fit - meaning, it can remain viable outside of a host cell for a long time. So a hep C virus can sit on a surface like a doorknob for hours, days, weeks, maybe months, and be picked up by contact with an open wound. As to Hep C rates - this is getting long and it/s a lot of info. Email me if you want more info - I have multiple theories.

  4. Oh wow! That's just so expensive. How do people afford that?

    In Australia we have the PBS (pharmaceutical benefit scheme) which is where the government subsidises commonly used drugs and that makes drugs a lot more affordable for most people.

  5. That's an interesting drug cocktail... Toto, we're not in your average drugstore any more! Sounds like a specialty pharmacy!
    I'm also curious about how people pay for these drugs; Singapore has a thicket of somewhat incomprehensible drug subsidies based on what is commonly used, the patient's income status, et.c.

  6. Our youngest son has a rare form of epilepsy, which is extremely difficult to treat. After trying multiple different seizure meds, we fought to get him ACTH - an injected steroid that has had really good results. ACTH is only used for a 6-12 weeks course, BUT, it is $30,000 a VIAL. How crazy is that??? There was lots of drama about the company buying the right, raising the cost, etc. etc. and as we were fighting with insurance, etc. I was holding my baby who was literally having 100+ seizures a day. We ended up getting three vials - $90,000 worth, and after two injections he was seizure free (and has been so for over four years now). So we were incredibly grateful for the drug, but sickened by the drug company.