So last week I went to the doctor to get a local prescription for my chronic asthma medication and my birth control, as the pharmacies here don’t accept the prescription my South African doctor gave me. It cost me a shocking $140 for the consult. Last time I looked, in SA you can see a private doctor for R190 (that’s about $25) and a government doctor for free. So, okay, I almost had a heart attack but I did the math and realized that I couldn’t really afford that.
So today I go to the pharmacy to try to fill out this prescription. I start with the birth control because I need it more urgently (my asthma meds should last a few more weeks) and also, it’s just one type of medicine whereas the asthma prescription is for three different medications and I had a bad feeling about price and my bank balance.
I get the pack of pills and the bill comes to $67. I could not believe what I was hearing. That works out to over R400. For that price, I could get FOUR packs of the exact same birth control pills in South Africa. And if you can’t afford that, you pop into the government clinic and they give you generic pills for free, no questions asked. I shudder to think what my asthma medication is going to come to at this rate. I just don’t understand how the same medicine can cost four times as much here.
I watched Sicko, I’ve heard that the US has terrible, overpriced, and exploitative medical and pharmaceutical prices but to actually be on the receiving end of it was just shocking. And I don’t even have a life threatening illness.
Okay, asthma can be life threatening but at the moment mine’s is controlled and I’m sure I’ll be able to make a plan as far as the medication is concerned, when I eventually run out of my goodies. But what if I was a single mum with three kids and I was working on minimum wage? What the hell then? It is just absolutely shocking.
(And I don’t even want to get into the incident I had at the first US clinic where they didn’t want to give me the birth control prescription because birth control is against their credo.)