Fun at the pharmacy (not)

So after work yesterday I went to get my prescription for my rosacea-not-lupus skin cream filled. While walking around the drug store waiting for the pharmacist to do his thang, I wondered how much it would cost – I figured around $25, but then I thought no, it would probably be expensive just because everything is so expensive these days. When I heard my  name called, I walked up to the counter and the pharm tech slid the package across to me, pointed to the price and said in a lowish voice “were you aware of this?”  I looked at the price and I swear my eyes did that cartoon thing where they bug out several inches from my face and I think I made a weird noise as well.

$176.24 

!!!!!!!

I’m pretty sure I said “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME WITH THIS?!?” (this seems to be my go-to phrase lately). He just shook his head and very sympathetically said, “no, I’m sorry but that’s the price. It’s actually higher than that, but your insurance paid a little on it already.”  I’m sure I stood there for a full five minutes ranting (not at the pharm tech guy – I realize he had no control over how much it cost) but ranting, nonetheless and he said (again very sympathetically) “you know you don’t have to take it. You can always call your doctor and see if there is another option.” I even said, “yeah I’ll do that because paying that price is just crazy!”. I stood there for a few more minutes (no one was behind me in line, don’t worry) and then for some reason I said “you know what let’s go ahead and do this”. He said “Are you sure?” and I said “yes”.

I don’t know why I did, but I did.

We have a health savings account that we thankfully, have not had to use very much, and that’s one of the reasons I went ahead and got it. The money was there, but still I think it’s just crazy to charge that much for face cream. I had asked the pharm tech why it was so much and he said it’s a new drug, there is no generic for it, and when new drugs come out they are always pretty expensive. Darn you pharmaceutical companies!!! *shaking fist in air*

I think I was seriously shell shocked. I walked out of the drug store with instant buyers remorse. Then the negative thoughts started and it was ugly: “I am so stupid for paying that much. I’m so stupid for not pushing that package back across the counter and saying ‘No, I refuse to pay that.’ I am so stupid for being so impulsive and not giving it a day to think about it. Why do I always have to learn these lessons the hard way? Why did I just do that? Why didn’t I just use the the teensy sample she gave me before I plunked down $200 for something that might not work? Why am I so stupid????”

These thoughts played in my mind over and over for the next half hour, until I finally told myself “I have got to stop with these thoughts. What’s done is done and beating myself up is not going to make the situation better.” I decided to counter my negative thoughts with more positive, less hurtful ones:

  • I’m not stupid, what’s stupid is charging that much for medication in the first place
  • It’s stupid that my doctor didn’t warn me about the price (although I wonder if she had any idea it was that much either)
  • It’s stupid that my doctor didn’t just give me several samples and THEN given me the scrip when I go back in 6 weeks
  • I’m not stupid.

I had to do this for another half hour to bring my blood pressure back down and then when I got home, of course I stampeded to my computer where I looked up the medicine and found some good reviews and also found that it not only reduces the appearance of rosacea, but it helps lighten dark spots on the face as well (I have a few really dark spots – the sun damage my derm was talking about) and if it really does lighten these spots, then the cost will be (almost) worth it.

I decided to spill my anxiety onto my husband because talking to him about things always seems to make me feel better, so when I told him the whole spiel, he just sort of shrugged and said “everything is more expensive than it should be nowadays. If it works, it will be worth it though, right?”  He’s not as freaky (read: cheap) as I am about money, so to him paying big bucks  for something you need is not a big deal. Somehow his calmness made me feel better about the whole thing and I relaxed and decided to just let it go.

So I am going to keep the face cream and start using it , but I damn well better come out with a whole new face when I finish this tube. If I don’t look 20 years old in 12 weeks, I’ma shank somebody (I’m looking at you big pharmaceutical company).

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11 thoughts on “Fun at the pharmacy (not)

  1. Do you mind sharing which cream this is? I’ve had rosacea for years, but haven’t had any prescriptions to treat it (mine was considered mild when diagnosed and my cheapo insurance wouldn’t do anything for it). I’ll be interested to see how this works for you.

    • Hi Sharon – the cream I was prescribed is called Finacea. I’ve read on the internet that it’s an OTC in Australia, but you can have it shipped to your home from there at a much lower cost. Of course I only found this out after I had already paid for it. I’ll do an update in a few weeks and let you know how it’s working. 🙂

  2. You did a great job of turning your negative self talk around. You were able to rationally dispute all your false, blanket statements. Nice! And this kind of discipline helps with weight loss as well. When you have a “bad” day with diet or exercise, forgive, get back up and keep going. It sounds like you have a very supportive spouse, which is something to be grateful for and thankful for each day. Keep up the good work, Sassy!

  3. Wholly molley! I think I’d call your doctor’s office and ask if they did know how expensive that was, and if there were alternatives by any chance… the reason is that Doctors get lobbied to prescribe certain brands and such. I’d just be… suspicious. But then, I’m cheap too 😉

    And you’re NOT stupid. You didn’t do this, THEY did. I understand why drugs cost what they do, but I think there has to be a better way than how they have it structured right now! I hope it gives you every result you’re looking for!

  4. Some doctor’s offices give a coupon to go along with the prescription when they know the price.

    I know you said this cream didn’t have a generic version, but if it did, still opt for the name brand (especially for new stuff). Here’s a NY Times article about the Supreme Court ruling that you cannot sue generic-brand companies if you have a serious adverse reaction to their product:

    When you apply the face cream (you APPLY $175 face cream, you don’t merely “put” it on), wear a pretty camisole, have a fan blowing on you, and while your hair is waving gently back, look in the mirror and state, “I’m worth it!”

  5. Oh my i am behind on reading blogs! I loved your writing on these even though they both came from frustrating experiences. Yes I agree that the dr should have known and warned you. That seems just like Shawn to be so calm and kind about it.

  6. Well, for a 175$ this stuff better works. I am soooo glad to live in Germany when it comes to health insurance. We are just way better off than you guys.

  7. Just wanted to let you know I just paid over $300 for my daughter’s meds for whatever zombie-infection thing she has now (that would be AFTER insurance.) Ugh. Highway robbery at the pharmacy! That should be the title of your post!

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