The dermatologist prescribed Bacoban, a small tube of topical cream, for a skin infection. When my wife picked it up for me, she was charged $71. My AARP drug insurance, she was told, didn't cover this non-generic drug. Insane, I thought. I've paid less for chemotherapy.
I called the pharmacist. Hadn't the doctor indicated that a generic would be okay? Yes, he said, but the doctor had prescribed a cream, and the generic, Mupirocin, only came in an ointment.
Cream, ointment, so?
Big difference, said the pharmacist, but the best he could come up with was something about staining clothes.
I called the doctor. I could almost hear him shrug over the phone. Ointment, cream, so?
I went back to the pharmacist, returned the Bacoban for $71 and bought the Mupirocin ointment. My insurance kicked in. It was $7.
This is no screed against Big Pharma (if you aren't up on that you probably haven't read this far.) It's just another early warning beep that all of us in LIFE(Part2) are hearing more often these days.
My "condition" was basically an angry pimple. What if it were serious? What if I was weak or confused? What if a lot of money was involved? What if I was alone?
This goes back to questions I asked on Show #6, Fighting Ageism. Why can't we organize, on both a national and local level, to push back against commercial and political forces taking advantage of us? Whatever happened to the Gray Panthers?
For starters, how about an Elders Council in every community to help out people who need some advice about something daunting in their lives - medical, legal, financial, social? It could come out of a community center, a church group, a library. Just a neighbor calling up, confused, to ask what you know about creams and ointments.