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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Drugs are Cheap

A least they’re cheap for common problems your doctor encounters in the office which are the same as I see in hotels. Here are examples from my favorite internet supplier as of 2012.

Some drugs cost almost nothing, less than a penny a pill. I can buy a thousand Benadryl, an antihistamine, for $4.02. A thousand hydrochlorothiazide (the most popular diuretic and blood pressure pill) costs $7.46

Tranquilizer: Valium 5mg is about two cents apiece; $2.04 for a hundred.

An excellent non-narcotic prescription pain remedy, Tramadol, costs $7.00 for a hundred; $50.00 for a thousand.

States require doctors to file a report each time they hand out narcotic pain pills, so I gave it up. Despite the impressive street price of the most popular drug of abuse, Oxycontin, a bottle of a hundred costs less than $10.00.

Cortisone cream: $1.44 per tube.

Antibiotic eye drops for conjunctivitis: $2.93
Antibiotic ear drops for swimmer’s ear: $2.66

A three day Bactrim antibiotic treatment for urinary infection (six tablets) is 40 cents. A hundred costs $6.27.

Ten day treatment for strep throat, twenty amoxicillin 500mg: less than two dollars. A hundred amoxicillin costs $9.29.

Ten day treatment for pneumonia, twenty doxycycline, is about $1.30. Five hundred capsules costs $32.60.

A big attraction of injections is that a doctor can charge for them. If he writes a prescription, the pharmacy gets the money. Don’t assume common injectables are expensive. To begin, a syringe costs a dime (100 are $10.07).

For allergies and itching, a vial containing thirty doses of injectable cortisone (Decadron 4mg) costs $18.88. That’s about sixty cents a shot.

For pain, a shot of morphine costs less than a dollar. It’s $15.49 for a twenty-dose vial.

Within the past few years, ondansetron has replaced Compazine and Phenergan as the leading treatment of vomiting. One shot costs a quarter. The vial of ten doses is $2.52.

Plain old Valium has skyrocketed. This happens when some companies stop making a drug and the others realize they have little competition. Less than a year ago, I paid $5.04 for a vial of ten shots; it’s now $23.02.

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