(NY Times) The Soaring Cost of a Simple Breath

Asthma ”” the most common chronic disease that affects Americans of all ages, about 40 million people ”” can usually be well controlled with drugs. But being able to afford prescription medications in the United States often requires top-notch insurance or plenty of disposable income, and time to hunt for deals and bargains.

The arsenal of medicines in the Hayeses’ kitchen helps explain why. Pulmicort, a steroid inhaler, generally retails for over $175 in the United States, while pharmacists in Britain buy the identical product for about $20 and dispense it free of charge to asthma patients. Albuterol, one of the oldest asthma medicines, typically costs $50 to $100 per inhaler in the United States, but it was less than $15 a decade ago, before it was repatented.

“The one that really blew my mind was the nasal spray,” said Robin Levi, Hannah and Abby’s mother, referring to her $80 co-payment for Rhinocort Aqua, a prescription drug that was selling for more than $250 a month in Oakland pharmacies last year but costs under $7 in Europe, where it is available over the counter.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Anthropology, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Medicaid, Medicare, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology

One comment on “(NY Times) The Soaring Cost of a Simple Breath

  1. sophy0075 says:

    I wish I knew how folks manage to buy prescription meds so cheaply whilst abroad. We phoned a brick and mortar Canadian pharmacy (we didn’t want to risk dealing with a Chinese website selling fake meds) to enquire about purchasing Crestor. The answer indicated we’d have to make an appointment with a Canadian physician (not easy to do; the appointment wait times are long), pay for a physical, and only then be given a prescription that could be filled. Our cost of staying in Canada and meeting with a Canadian doctor whilst awaiting this would equal the savings for the meds.