Don’t ask a doctor how much the pills cost then scream at us when the price is different

by Caleb Reading

So somebody yelled at me because “Twenty dollars?! Doctor said these were only like $15 so I bought a pack of cigrets now I can’t pay for the antibiotic for mah kid.  Why are you screwing your patients?  I’m going tah Walmart and never coming back here.”  First off, if you’re actually poor (and not just a wasteful spender) your kid should already be on HAWK-I and there wouldn’t be a copay.  Secondly, stop smoking dumbass.  Thirdly, if you must buy cigarrettes TAKE CARE OF YOUR KID’S NEEDS FIRST.  Fourthly, you pay a flat copay so Walmart will charge you the same amount, but please do spend $20 on gas to drive there and never come back here, idiot.  Fifthly, I hate you.

Doctors often don’t know the current price of any medication they prescribe. There have been several times a doctor has yelled at us for calling him or her up and mentioning the price because he or she did not want to know the price, because that might bias what he or she prescribes in the future. Other doctors are glad to know what the prices are so they can keep that in mind when comparing one therapy to another. I’d be willing to bet that most of the time the doctor has no idea how much the drug costs, but does know how effective it was in clinical studies. You can go ahead and ask for the cheapest medication, but the doctor probably doesn’t know what that is.

In addition, the prices on drugs are in flux and can be very different from one location or store to another and from one week to the next. The doctor couldn’t possibly know what the cash price on a drug will be at any given store, unless he or she calls every drug store in the area and asks for a price quote on every possible therapy. Neither the doctors nor the pharmacists have the free time and resources to do that. Also, many patients are paying a co-pay through their insurance. It is simply amazing how many patients have no idea what their standard co-pay is. There are literally millions of permutations of prescription coverage. How the heck would the doctor know for sure what the patient’s copay will be, or where the drug fits on that specific plan’s formulary list?

If you have no prescription coverage and little money, tell the doctor this.  You know who knows what the cash price of a drug is?  Not the doctor.  The pharmacist.  Some doctors, if they know a patient is cash-strapped, will call the pharmacist and ask about the cash price of a few different drugs before giving the prescription over the phone.  I call these doctors “the good ones”.