At the dinner table. Around the water cooler at work. In text messages between friends… accompanied by a very cranky, red faced emoji.
They’re stories about how the markup on medication is out of this world ridiculous. They come in many shapes and sizes, but these stories are important to address. They’re the most obvious red flag that the system is very, very broken.
Take, for example, the insurance agent who recently asked for an Rx price quote for a breast cancer medicine. The patient was quoted Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy $1900 and $2200 per month…. but the Atlas MD wholesale cost $6.70. Six dollars and seventy cents. Six. Dollars. Seventy. Cents.
It seems insane that a giant retail pharmacy would make that kind of profit, but let’s give them some grace, shall we? I mean, they have a TON of overhead costs to cover. Poor things…
Sarcasm aside, the true cost of the medicine is under seven dollars. The real problem? It’s a shell game involving the cash price for the uninsured (which is ridiculously elevated) … so that they can show a discount for insured patients.
And because of gag laws set forth by the insurance companies, the pharmacy can’t tell the patient there’s a cheaper option without being guilty of breaching their contract… and that results in a hefty fine. Legislators are working to make all this go away, but it’s happening almost too slowly to notice.
So, what we can do in the meantime to fight this injustice? The answer is simple.
Tell your patients. Tell your neighbors. Tell your dog if he’ll listen. (who are we kidding, of course he’ll listen…)
Because once they know, they can take action. And the action they’ll take will be in the direction of your DPC practice’s wholesale prices. Remember: $6.70.
Never underestimate the power of eliminating the middle man, friends. It’s the platform your practice was built on. Direct Care brings transparency to life. Maybe one day we’ll say, “Hey, remember when people used to pay thousands of dollars for medications that wholesale for under ten?” Kinda like today when we say, “Hey, remember when people thought bloodletting was a good idea for common illness?” Ugh…
So, spread the word. Show your patients the alternative value proposition you offer. Fix the problem for them, and they’ll tell everyone they know. Lather, rise, repeat!