The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

19 December 2005

I want an old drug

Carrie McLaren from Stay Free! on something I've seen before:

After two weeks of suffering through my annual bout of sinusitis/tonsilitis, I recently buckled and talked to my doctor about getting some antibiotics. I asked for Augmentin — it's worked well for me in the past... and that's what he prescribed: a 14-day supply of Augmentin XR 1000 MG.

When I go to pick up my meds, the pharmacist informs me that my insurer — HIP — will only authorize a 10-day supply at one time. In order to get the remaining pills, I'll have to wait until I finish the first batch and come back again. Why on earth does HIP have such a policy? Is the drug not approved for the formulary? Nope, it's there. Is 10 days the standard dosage? No, the standard dosage is either 14 or 28 days.

No, the reason HIP covers less than a full supply is because it wants two co-payments out of me. At $30 each, that makes the drug $60. This not only makes the drug unduly expensive, but it encourages patients not to take their full course of antibiotics.... which, if you know anything about antibiotics, is dangerous from a public health perspective, because it can lead to drug-resistant bacteria.

Drug plans are full of neat little tricks like that. I have to contrive every year to have the stuff I take every day come close to running out right before the World Tour, because CFI Care [not its real initials] won't cover a refill if they think you have as much as a third of your last bottle remaining. Can I just buy two refills the month before, at twice the price? No, sorry, it doesn't work that way.

During last fall's illness, I was prescribed a rather massive dose of Augmentin: I think it was 750 875 mg twice a day. I don't remember whether I got a whole 14 days' worth (which would be 28 tabs), but I am quite sure I didn't have it refilled.

(Via The Consumerist.)

Update, 28 December: Apparently Augmentin in this variety is only prescribed for ten days. The original post has been updated accordingly.

Posted at 2:10 PM to Dyssynergy

TrackBack: 11:36 PM, 19 December 2005
» These people make me sick (literally). from Engine of the Future
God, our own country men (and women) want us to devolve as a nation (via Dustbury). It’s this kind of crap that will reduce us to third world status. I am not a pharmacist, but I believe that Augmentin has been around long enough to be generic......[read more]

... yep, they play with my son's SEIZURE meds the same way. They're such nice, friendly, well intentioned folks over at the insurer ... I wonder if we could pave that the proverbial road to hell with with them ... could save the state some money.

Posted by: Ron at 3:31 PM on 19 December 2005

HIP USA customer service email is ...

Posted by: Mel at 10:51 PM on 19 December 2005

Even though I don't have prescription coverage, the pharmacy still won't give me refills in advance because that's the way that the insurance companies do things. Apparently I'm supposed to trust them to give me the right drug and dosage, but dealing with uninsured people is too complicated for them. Bah.

(I always thought one of the joys of being uninsured was being out from under those silly regs. Silly me.)

Posted by: Deb at 11:01 AM on 20 December 2005