This is Buzzy's Country Store blog designed to keep you apprised of what's going on at the Store. Buzzy's is a general store located in St. Mary's County, Southern Maryland near Pt. Lookout State Park. Buzzy and Jean Ridgell purchased the Store from Jean's father Harry Raley in 1953. Buzzy operated it until his passing in 2009. His son J. Scott Ridgell is the current owner.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Insurance Matters

After yesterday's little rant about trying to refill a prescription thru the VA, I received my blood pressure meds in the mail from them later in the day.  So, the system did work.  My apologies to the VA if I made it sound like you guys weren't being responsive. 

However, it did get me thinking about the whole prescription process and what could be done to make it better.  While much about health care is up for debate, one area that everyone agrees upon is that the cost of prescription drugs is way too high. 

When Buzzy and I were travelling in South Africa, we met a retired couple who lived in Sun City, Arizona.  As we conversed with them, the guy informed us that he was a former engineer but now that he was retired he was a drug runner.  Once a month he made a trip to Mexico to buy prescription-related drugs that he, his wife and all of their condo friends took on a daily basis.  He said that they saved hundreds of dollars doing this.  (This was pre 9/11 mind you so travel in and out of Mexico was easier back then.  However, today folks obtaining prescription drugs from outside-the-U.S. sources such as Canada continues to be a billion dollar plus business (click here.)  

As Buzzy and I made our way back to our rooms following this exchange, I recall him saying "You know damn well something isn't right when Mexico is selling that stuff cheaper than we are." 

Here is a chart documenting the variances in drug costs between the U.S. and other countries.

The fact that drug companies can pretty much charge whatever they want or whatever the market will bear is one of the prime components of this issue.  Check out this variance among costs for Atorvastatin a cholesterol med that I take.

President Trump, who likes deregulating thing when he is not tweeting, golfing or dining out, could do some things to rectify this and that don't need Congressional approval (click here.)
To give you some idea of how the Big-Pharma boys react to political scrutiny, back when it looked like Hillary might be our next President, she made a statement that she was going to do something about the high costs of prescriptions by placing a $250/monthly cap on what any drug producer could charge a person.  The very day that she made that announcement, the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index dropped 5.1 percent (click here.)

When campaigning, the Trumpster too had a good idea/suggestion where he said he would  allow Medicare to negotiate down drug prices with producers, something that they currently do not do.  If this is another possible solution to lowering prescription costs, why isn't it being pursued/done?  (Answer - think $.)  There are also a couple of proposed bills floating around Congress that address high prescription costs but those don't appear to be going anywhere either. 

Oh well, thanks for letting me vent a little more about this.  But now that I've gotten myself worked up over this matter, I need to go take my blood pressure meds. 

Whenever I'm angry, Elvis is my go to musical choice.  Here is his cover of an old Sam and Dave tune (click here.)  Sam Moore, 81, is still doing it as an on-earth-Soul Man vs. his partner Dave Prater who reached the heavenly-Soul Man status in 1988 (click here.)

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