Pharmaceutical Rape

The cost of pharmaceuticals in the United States have been a bad joke for a long time. No other country in the world pays as much for medications as we do. Adding insult to injury, most of those medications are made right here in the USA. Yes, even the ones bought by people in other countries who pay much less than we do.

Think I’m making it up or repeating what I’ve read on the internet? Wrong. I’m stating fact. Let me give you a first hand, first person, no “I heard it on the grapevine” story. Our own story. Unfortunately, I know we are not an isolated case.

In 2010 we were living in Tucson, Arizona. Both my husband and our Australian Cattle Dog were diagnosed with Valley Fever. The medical name for this disease is Coccidioidomycosis. According to the Free Medical Dictionary “Coccidioidomycosis is an airborne infection. The fungus that causes the disease is found in the dry desert soil of the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central and South America. Coccidioidomycosis is sometimes called San Joaquin fever, valley fever, or desert fever because of its prevalence in the farming valleys of California. Although commonly acquired, overt coccidioidomycosis is a rare disease. Chronic infections occur in only one out of every 100,000 people.”

As luck would have it, both of them had the rarer, sometimes lethal form, of the disease. There was no question about whether we’d treat it or ride it out. As the doctors told us, the complications can kill you. We laughed about the fact both of them were put on identical medication. We were being prescribed large enough doses that we got the drugs in their original bottles rather than the orange pill bottles the pharmacies usually use.

Fortunately, my husband’s case responded fairly quickly to the $250/mo. medication and he recovered in just over a year. Yes, his cost $250/mo. The dog’s was “only” around $80/mo. Same dosage, same medication, identical bottles, same manufacturer. Go figure. But the story gets better… or worse…

Unfortunately, here we are in 2014 and the dog’s case is still active and being treated. She has a blood sample drawn every 3 months to check her blood titers that is sent off to Arizona, because that is the only place in the country with labs that do the test, or so we’ve been told.

This disease has never been seen here in Washington and the labs practically went ballistic when our vet sent a sample to them to be tested. She ended up being contacted by all sorts of government agencies over it. Turns out, coccidioidomycosis is considered to be a potential biological weapon of war and having it turn up in a Seattle lab started a tempest in a teapot. But I digress…

The large, national chain pharmacies go on about how they can give us better prices for our medications because they can shop around, buy in bulk and thereby save us money.

When it was time to have her checked after we returned Washington State in 2012, after the dust-up with the labs and government settled, the vet handed me a prescription to take to my usual pharmacy. She did not carry Fluconazole and figured I’d get it cheaper and faster from a commercial pharmacy.

I called Walgreen’s since we have all our other prescriptions filled there. I was told a month’s supply (60 tablets) would cost me just under $1000 without any kind of insurance. Of course if we had their saver’s card (which we do) it would “only” be around $485.

Insanity! We’d been paying $250 for the exact same thing in Arizona from the same pharmacy chain. And paying $80 for the same thing from the vet there.

So I went back to my vet and told her what had happened. She said she’d see if she could get it in for me for less. The next week I had TWO months worth of Fluconazole waiting for me at her office. She showed me her invoice from her supplier. $8.12 per bottle. Yeah, PER BOTTLE! She charged me $12.50 per bottle and I was a very happy camper.

Jump forward to yesterday, January 3, 2014. I went to the vet’s office to pick up Lady’s meds and the first thing I got was an apology. Why? Again, I was shown the invoice from her supplier. What had cost her $8.12/bottle for the past year and a half is now $98/bottle! She asked the supplier why it had gone up so much and they could not explain it to her. Basically they just told her, “Sorry but that’s what it is now.”

I know there are people reading this who will say, “Well just put the dog down and you won’t have that expense.” What if it were my husband instead of the dog who has not recovered. Should I put him down? And that isn’t the issue. The issue is that we are all being financially raped every time we buy a prescription and no one is doing anything about it!

I have a sinking feeling this is part of a trend. I also suspect ObamaCare is going to be blamed for it. But let me point out a couple of things…

  • The disparity between what pharmacies pay and what they charge us is a long standing problem.
  • Now pharmacies are being charged more so we are going to be hit even harder.
  • The people who are being hit the hardest are the ones who can least afford it… the sick, the elderly, the working poor, the people who cannot afford health care coverage.
  • As we have seen in the past months, health care coverage prices are skyrocketing.
  • Those of us who can least afford coverage and our prescription costs are still being hit the hardest.

I don’t have any brilliant answers to the problem. I just want you to know, if you’re in the same boat, you’re not alone. Who will go to bat for us? Who will put a stop to the insanity? Pharmaceutical companies have been holding us hostage and financially raping us for years. When and how is it going to stop?

Check out this guy’s video… The end is a flagrant pitch but I’ll bite. He makes that much sense!

Here’s another real life example. This time of medical procedure and health care costs:

Happy Mother’s Day, Whether You Like It or Not!

Have you called or visited your mother this fine Mother’s Day? No? Why not? Perhaps because you think it’s not necessary to keep telling her every year how much you appreciate her.

More than likely, if you answered “No” it’s because you don’t feel she deserves recognition. A lot of people feel that way, so you’re not alone.

Daughter Suzanne, Son Cayce, Grandson Isaac and me. Mother's Day 2004

Daughter Suzanne, Son Cayce, Grandson Isaac and me. Mother’s Day 2004, the last time I was with all of them for this holiday.

I am not unique, but at 66 years of age, I am rich in life experience. I know we all tend to make a lot of assumptions. Perhaps the things I have learned may give you food for thought about your assumptions, make you reconsider your view of your own mother. (more…)

A Perspective on the Loss of Loved Ones

I am learning that our perspectives change in the most surprising ways as we mature. Where I once was ready to dive right in to an argument, I hesitate, ask myself whether it’s really worth the energy I’ll expend, and often end up walking away. Where I was ready to force my views on others, I ask myself, “Will my getting involved bring about any positive change?” If I decide it won’t, I don’t waste my time and breath. In things like this, I have a choice.

There are other things that I have no control over. One being my reaction to death. It’s not a comfortable subject, but bear with me. I have a feeling what I am learning is something more people experience than not, but it’s not something we talk about because it hits at such a gut level. (more…)

Happy Birthday, Cayce!

Thirty-five years ago today a wonderful ray of sunshine entered my life. He had tried to arrive a bit earlier, back in December of 1977, but the doctors managed to “keep him in the oven” a bit longer. He was actually due on Feb. 27th which is his father’s birthday. But Cayce Benson Almasin decided he wanted a birthday all his own, so he arrived on the 17th instead.

Such a quiet baby! He didn’t make a peep. Unlike his brother who arrived screaming and then promptly peed on the nurse! And unlike his sister who arrived grumbling under her breath. They laid him on my stomach and he just lay there, looking all around as if he were thinking, “Wow! This sure is interesting!”

He was such a quiet little thing that we called him Mousie. If you were not in the same room with him when he cried you wouldn’t hear him. To think he matured into a metal guitarist/vocalist who rocked any stage he was on! You just never know, do you? (more…)

Simple truths. Words to live by… My New Year gift to you

Simple truths. Words to live by… My New Year gift to you, compliments of Kalpulli Teocalli Ollin:


1. I choose to communicate the Truth.
2. I choose the reality of Life.
3. I choose to heal and do no harm.
4. I choose education over ignorance .
5. I choose the power of peace.
6. I choose to love God/Creator (or the Good) and see God/Creator (or the Good) in all humanity .
7. I choose to find the soul in all things.
8. I choose to join the world of inspiration.
9. I choose the principle of cooperation and sharing.
10. I choose to become a co-creator of Life and live more abundantly.

Forget the Resolutions! Try An Affirmation!


Photo by Isaac Anthony Dumlao

How about that?! The gal who thought 40 was as ancient as one could be and still be functional turned 66 today. Let me tell you, I am more than JUST functional. I’m rockin’! The funny thing is, when I think of my age, I feel like someone in her 40s… and that seems vibrant and healthy. It really IS all in the perspective, isn’t it?!

A few years ago I gave up making New Year resolutions. I realized all they did was make me feel inadequate… and a bit of a failure when I wasn’t able to keep them. At the same time, I wanted something to mark the transition from one year to another. So let me share a bit of what I have learned. Hopefully it can save someone else the negativity and angst of failed resolutions.

99% of the New Year resolutions I have ever heard of are built on negativity. “I will not do this.” “I will not do that.” Stop, cut back, refrain from, not… You get the picture. The person making the resolution is intending to make himself or herself a better edition going forward, but the focus is on changing negative actions and attitudes.

I tried making positive resolutions (I will eat less, exercise more, swear less, etc.) but it still came down to the same thing. Focusing on negative aspects of my life. Then it hit me. What I needed were AFFIRMATIONS to focus on. So last year I set myself an affirmation to focus on for the year. (more…)

A Christmas Wish Good All Year Long

May the sun bring you new energy by day
May the moon softly restore you by night
May the rain wash away your worries
May the breeze blow new strength into your being
May you walk gently through the world
And know its beauty all the days of your life

Apache Blessing

I Wish You Enough

I read what follows a few years ago. It has stuck with me and for some reason whenever this time of year rolls around, I get the urge to share it with all those I love. I wish I had the wisdom to have created this myself, but I didn’t. Credit is given the author.

This year, more than ever, I wish you all “Enough”! It is the best Christmas gift one can get, trust me!

“I wish you enough!”© (more…)

A Senior & Veteran Speaks His Truth to Mitt Romney

My brother-in-law, Anthony Almasin, posted this to his FaceBook. I am reposting here, with his permission, because I feel the same as he does about our “entitlements” and people like Romney’s perception of us as we struggle through what is suppose to be our retirement years. Retirement? Don’t make me laugh!

WTF!? According to Mitt Romney, I am dependent upon government, I believe that I am a victim, and I believe that the government has a responsibility to care for me – from health care, to food, to housing, to… you name it.
Aside from a monthly retirement benefit from a local bank where I worked for some 30-years, I have a social security entitlement as I have been contributing to social security since age 13. (more…)

A Shift of Attention

Once again Dr. Al Link provides a dose of reality. Please read on I received it from him today and am reprinting here with his permission:

Our long years of excessive debt, owed on borrowed money to finance poorly planned and even more poorly executed attempts to stem the flow of red ink, have put this nation in a position it has never had to deal with before. Quite literally, we are going broke and when we hit the bottom—read can’t find investors stupid enough to lend us more money to waste—we will cease to exist as a free and prosperous nation. We will not be in the same financial crises as Greece is today, however. No! We will be in a crisis many times worse than Greece.

This is to say, it really does not matter which Presidential hopeful wins the November elections. Neither man, alone, can “fix” our problem. So, while there is a lot of hoopla about the election of a president, the outcome will not have a lot of effect on our financial mess.

The “elections” we should be paying the most attention are the Congressional elections, NOT the presidential hoopla. (more…)

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