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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Drugs are Cheap


Getting a syringe from my supply closet, I noticed that only a dozen remain. I’d better order more. A hundred syringes costs $12.

I buy from an internet medical supply company. For orders under $200 it charges a fat “handling fee,” so I try to order enough to exceed it. Most of my purchases are drugs, but that presents a problem because they’re so cheap.

I notice other hotel doctors charging $50 to $150 for an injection. I carry seven injectables. The content of a single shot of all seven rarely cost more than a dollar.   

What do I need?..... I stock B12 not because it’s necessary but because guests ask for it. This doesn’t happen often, so my bottle is almost out of date. The price has gone up, but it’s still $31 for a 30cc vial. That’s thirty injections.

I’m down to a few dozen Ondansetron tablets, the best nausea remedy. Ten bottles of thirty will set me back $37.

It never hurts to stock up on loperamide (Imodium is the brand), my favorite diarrhea treatment, but I was surprised to discover the price has jumped to ten times what I paid a few years ago: $104 for five hundred. Many old but important drugs such as penicillin that once cost pennies a pill have skyrocketed to dazzling levels. The weird thing about loperamide: it’s sold over-the-counter. Walmart charges $5.00 for a bottle of 72. That works out to $35 per five hundred. I’ll buy loperamide from Walmart.

I’m not short of many drugs, and buying too many is dangerous. At over ten dollars a bottle, my most expensive is antibiotic drops for swimmer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear has been unexpectedly rare, and I recently discarded five bottles that expired in January. My remaining three expire in May. Should I buy more? Doctors have to make tough decisions…

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