Prescription drugs cost an arm and a leg: And I don’t have the money for arm and leg surgery

by Tyler Fransen

    This week’s tirade will deal with a controversial topic both political and biological. So, if you are offended by either of these things, I suggest you instead watch the YouTube video, “Corgi Puppy Can’t Deal With Mini Pumpkin;” it’s beautiful.

   Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let me tell you folks a little story about the American health care system and how it beat me upside the head with a shovel and didn’t even apologize.

   Let me first establish that I was in need of medication for reasons that are just going to have to go unexplained because it’s kind of gross.

   I had previously been in need of a similar kind of medication that after tax cost around $10. That $10 prescription was to be taken three times a day for 10 days.

   After my latest appointment, the doctor prescribed a medication that I would only take for seven days, twice a day. So for medication that A: works the same as the previous medication, and B: is taken less frequently over less time, you would think that the cost would be around the same, right? Nope, not even close.

   This latest prescription drug—that, mind you, I need in order to avoid further and more expensive medical problems—cost me $55.

   Yes, you read that correctly; a drug that I’m supposed to take less, for fewer days had cost more than five times as much as the drug I was taking previously.

   After I bought the drugs I was thinking to myself, “Well, thank goodness I got paid this week, otherwise I’d be certifiably screwed!”

   This is not to say that I wasn’t impacted financially, because I most certainly was. When I broke down the costs it went a little something like this: $15 co-pay for the doctor’s appointment, $55 for the prescription drugs and roughly $25 for the over-the-counter drugs to take in conjunction with the prescription drugs. The brought the total up to $95 spent on one medical issue.

   Again, it was fortunate that I got paid so I was able to afford everything, but I was cutting it pretty close because my paycheck was right around $120.

   Spending money is not my idea of a fun time unless it’s on Broncos merchandise or steak dinners. You can probably imagine the horror I felt when I glanced at my bank statement.

   The thing is, this is not a problem exclusive to me or anyone like me. Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO, and real life comic book supervillain Martin Shkreli, raised the price of an AIDS drug from $13.50 per tablet to $750 per tablet. Pharmaceutical company Mylan raised the price of the life saving EpiPen from $100 to $700 while their CEO received a salary increase and gave out executive bonuses.

   If drug companies are going to make drugs, can they at least be ethical about it with reasonable prices? Do I have to live in a world where I can only get sick after pay day?

   Regardless of your position on ObamaCare, single payer healthcare systems or any sort of health care plan, the fact remains that we need just that: a plan!

   If I was unable to afford my medication, I could be facing more serious problems that will cost me more money down the road, and it’s not even for something life threatening.

   However, if it were life threatening then I might as well change “Tyler’s Tirades” into, “Tyler’s Last Will and Testament” (I know it’s probably a bad idea to print my will into a newspaper, but we can discuss that later).

   The point is, I am in no position to say that our current healthcare system works correctly when I have to pay arbitrarily high prices for prescription drugs and pharmaceutical companies  seem to be making it up as they go along.

   Comprehensive work by our politicians to ensure that people don’t die because they can’t afford the drugs they need should not be a partisan issue. It should be — and frankly is — a life and death issue.

   Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch that puppy bark at a pumpkin while I write to my congressman.


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