I recently had a patient that needed some antibiotics after her surgery. She initially asked me to call her prescription in to Costco but Costco’s pharmacy is closed on Sunday. So I asked the patient to provide me with a 24-hour pharmacy near where she lives.
Enter “Unnamed chain pharmacy”. She sent me a text message with that pharmacy’s number and I called in her prescriptions. I found out the next day (Monday) that she only filled one of two prescriptions because one was $113 for 7 pills! This wasn’t Viagra I was calling in. This was a generic antibiotic that lost it’s patent protection years ago.
Just to confirm, I called that pharmacy myself on Monday to discuss the cost with the pharmacist. He indeed indicated that the $113 price was for the generic brand. The patient then suggested I call Costco back since it was now Monday and they would be open.
Lesson Learned: Pharmacy Costs Vary
Much to my shock, when I called and spoke to the Costco pharmacist, he indicated that 7 pills would cost $8.64 TOTAL! I had feelings of relief for the patient since she would be saving so much money but also feelings of embarrassment that I had encouraged a patient to purchase pills without considering cost. Granted, I’ve ordered this same generic antibiotic in the past and knew it was relatively cheap but didn’t realize it’s cost could vary so much in some chain pharmacies.
I was also embarrassed that, as a proponent of price transparency, I didn’t consider the differences in cost between pharmacies. I guess just as a chest X-ray can cost $80 at some radiology facilities and $300 in a hospital-based radiology department, a pharmacy can play games with the cost of drugs as well.
Just as BuildMyBod.com provides pricing on services from doctors near you, maybe it’s time BuildMyBod ventures into the pharmacy and drug cost arena!