How’s That Rx Workin’ for Ya?

Promotion Turned Rant

Anyone that’s read my puny little bio knows that I spent my prime working in the medical field as a licensed nurse. One necessary evil in said profession is staying current on medications. I still tend to do that. Old habits die hard. Maybe they don’t die–they just get flaccid and crusty along with our aging bodies but anywho.

Has anyone had to fill a prescription for Doxycycline lately? Were you totally blown away by the price increase? I mean, my lord that drug was approved by the FDA before I started first grade. Seriously it was over 45 years ago. The last time I checked (February 2012) it was $10 for 30 capsules/tabs without insurance. That was 33¢ per dose. Today it is sixty eight bucks for twenty tablets at Wal Mart! Yes, $68. That’s what… $3.40 a dose?Doxycycline (1024x688)

It is a fabulous drug with a wide range of benefits but it is old. Remember once upon a time when the cost of a drug went down after the pharmaceutical company recouped their research costs. So why the heck has this one (and there are others) skyrocketed?

This was the very argument I had with the pharmacist at one of the drug stores I called searching for a better price. Just FYI I was trying to help an uninsured individual get the medication they needed.

The professional behind the counter explained there was apparently a shortage of said drug, maybe a matter of supply and demand. I don’t believe that. The next explanation was that they were possibly losing money, to that I feigned a BS cough.

“You are a writer, right?” he asked. Damn small towns everybody knows your business.

“Right. What does that have to do with price gouging or hoarding if that is the case?” I replied.

“After you have recouped what you think your time and effort is worth on a particular book do you systematically lower the price?”

“A person’s health is not affected one way or another by my practices”. I argued.

“I’m sure their budget is. Why don’t you apply that same philosophy to your business?”

“I have!”

“How’s that prescription workin’ for ya?” By the looks of his crooked little grin I don’t think he believed me.

“It is too early to tell but I will let you know.”

We exchanged the usual pleasantries and I hurried home and got busy just in case he checked my story. It wasn’t a lie really; I (like many Indies) have cut prices before and offered a free title from time to time but has fiction or poetry ever healed bronchitis? Has an antibiotic ever offered a leisurely break from the stresses of reality?

I believe his comparison is ludicrous but a stiff necked redneck with Irish ire tends to take everything as a challenge. Of course we also celebrate the smallest victories. Just this morning I found 75¢ in the dryer. Woo-hoo. I love me some shiny quarters- it’s gonna be a good day.

So anyway I cut prices, made a couple of titles free at Smashwords and I am off to track down the real reason behind the astronomical increase in this drug and then I shall rant elsewhere.

Aside: I have a (paranoid?) suspicion the government is stock piling Doxycycline in the event of germ warfare or an anthrax attack. Maybe the pharmacy should start loading up on e-readers and books. If you can’t afford the medication or cure what ails you by reading you may be up a thick smelly creek without a means of propelling yourself.