Wednesday, June 03, 2015

drugging the old guy

When I was a young man, back during the Punic Wars, I would marvel at how old people were so obsessed with their medications and pains.

I am now an old person.  And because hubris is a dish we can eat throughout our lives, I am now one of those guys who talks about his medication and his pains.  But, I do it in Mexico where paying for both is quite reasonable.

Before I left on my last trip north, I was having dinner with my friends Ed and Roxane.  Somehow, our conversation turned to the topic of hypertension.  Ed and I use the same medication -- lisinopril -- to combat high blood pressure.

I asked him why lisinopril is so much more expensive in Mexico than it is in The States.  When I came south, I was on toporol -- a drug that is incredibly inexpensive here.  When my doctor moved me over to lisinopril, my prescription costs jumped.

Ed was baffled at my characterization.  He thought the price here for lisinopril was quite reasonable.  I had just purchased a supply at our local pharmacy.  He was astounded at what I paid.

The next week, I accompanied him to his pharmacy, and, sure enough, he was paying far less than I was.  I decided when I returned from Asia, I would stock up from his source.

I just did that.  Here's the math. 

I will spare you my algebraic formulae and cut to the chase.  A month's supply of what I had been taking would cost me $2600.70 (Mx) a month.  In US dollars that is about $168.  A month's supply of Ed's version will cost me $196.80 (Mx), or $12.75 a month.

If I have calculated correctly, by following Ed's advice, I will save over $1800 (US) in the course of a year.  Not bad money for two old guys sitting around talking about their ailments.

The obvious question is why the two drugs have such different prices.  The most obvious one is that I was buying a brand name; the other box is a generic.

I know a Mexican citizen from Guadalajara who would be scandalized that I have opted for a generic over a brand name.  He swears that generics are not only of lower quality, they are often dangerous.  Of course, he is a pharmaceutical salesman.  And he plays his part well.

Other than that, I am not certain.  Certain drugs in Mexico have governmental cost controls on them.  But I have no idea if that is true for the generic version of lisinopril.

What I do know is that I am going to listen far more carefully when we old geezers get together.  There may be folding money buried in our bellyaching.

No comments: