Mary’s Musings

Affordable meds

Posted:  Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - 7:00am

We’re off and running in a brand new year which will, once again, bring changes we may never have imagined, including in the field of medicine. We’re all living longer, thanks in part to healthier lifestyles, but also because of the wonders of modern drugs. Medical experts are able to keep us going long past our usual lifespan, because nearly every day, a new medicine comes on the market to treat or cure what ails us, which sounds wonderful, except they don’t come cheap.

A recent CBS story notes that a life-saving cancer pill, which once cost $50, has apparently gone up by 1400 percent since 2013 and is now $768. We don’t know about you, but we don’t have enough wiggle room in our budget to afford pills in that price range, especially if they have to be taken daily. While health insurance may pick up part of the tab, it’s still coming out of your pocket, no matter how you look at it.

We’d love to say the high cost of this particular pill is an exception, but we all know that’s not true. How often have you seen the color drain from a customer’s face when handed the bill for medications? Of course, we always have an option: take it or leave it.

We’re not so sure but what the men and women who refuse to rely on “store-bought’’ medications aren’t the smart ones. Home remedies don’t always work, but all too often, we jump at the chance to purchase medications for even simple health issues rather than rely on old-fashioned treatments our parents or grandparents would have used. You could always point out, however, that they often died young and you’d have a pretty good argument.

We all agree that there’s a lot of price-gouging in the field of drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter and that Americans all too often pay more than those in other countries which is sometimes hard to accept.

Not too many months ago, we watched a TV special on medical care and costs in other countries compared to here at home and we must say, we came away feeling cheated. We tout ourselves as being far superior to others when it comes to modern medicine, yet we saw Cuban men and women with easy access to doctors and hospitals, and medications that were either free or dirt-cheap. And we can’t do the same here?

Staying healthy will be a goal for most of us in 2018.  Let’s hope it also marks the beginning of a trend to bring down drug costs here in the United States.