Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Drug Prices at COSTCO

Marlene J. Ruston
Senior Benefits Program Specialist - Retirement
WMATA
600 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
mruston@wmata.com
(202) 962-2843 (work)
(202) 962-2293 (fax)

Marlene J. Ruston 12/21/05 8:39 AM
Please read in its entirety. The e-mail is lengthy but informative.

COSTCO! read this... Let's hear it for Costco!! (This is just mind-boggling!) Make sure you read all the way past the list of the drugs.

The woman that signed below is a Budget Analyst out of federal Washington, DC offices. Did you ever wonder how much it costs a drug company for the active ingredient in prescription medications? Some people think it must cost a lot, since many drugs sell for more than $2.00 per tablet. We did a search of offshore chemical synthesizers that supply the active ingredients found in drugs approved by the FDA. As we have revealed in past issues of Life Extension, a significant percentage of drugs sold in the United States contain active ingredients made in other countries. In our independent investigation of how much profit drug companies really make, we obtained the actual price of active ingredients used in some of themost popular drugs sold in America. The data below speaks for itself.


Consumer price

Cost of general active ingredients

Percent markup

Celebrex: 100 mg (100 tablets)

$130.27

$0.60

21,712%

Claritin: 10 mg (100 tablets)

$215.17

$0.71

30,306%

Keflex: 250 mg (100 tablets)

$157.39

$1.88

8,372%

Lipitor: 20 mg (100 tablets)

$272.37

$5.80

4,696%

Norvasc: 10 mg (100 tablets)

$188.29

$0.14

134,493%

Paxil: 20 mg (100 tablets)

$220.27

$7.60

2,898%

Prevacid: 30 mg (100 tablets)

$44.77

$1.01

4,433%

Prilosec: 20 mg (100 tablets)

$360.97

$0.52

69,417%

Prozac: 20 mg (100 tablets)

$247.47

$0.11

224,973%

Tenormin: 50 mg (100 tablets)

$104.47

$0.13

80,362%

Vasotec: 10 mg (100 tablets)

$102.37

$0.20

51,185%

Xanax: 1 mg (100 tablets)

$136.79

$0.024

569,958%

Zestril: 20 mg (100 tablets)

$89.89

$3.20

2,809%

Zithromax: 600 mg (100 tablets)

$1,482.19

$18.78

7,892%

Zocor: 40 mg (100 tablets)

$350.27

$8.63

4,059%

Zoloft: 50 mg

$206.87

$1.75

11,821%

Since the cost of prescription drugs is so outrageous, I thought everyone should know about this. Please read the following and pass it on. It pays to shop around. This helps to solve the mystery as to why they can afford to put a Walgreen's on every corner. On Monday night, Steve Wilson, an investigative reporter for Channel 7 News in Detroit, did a story on generic drug price gouging by pharmacies. He found in his investigation, that some of these generic drugs were marked up as much as 3,000% or more. Yes, that's not a typo... three thousand percent! So often, we blame the drug companies for the high cost of drugs, and usually rightfully so. But in this case, the fault clearly lies with the pharmacies themselves. For example, if you had to buy a prescription! on drug, and bought the name brand, you might pay $100 for 100 pills.& nbsp; The pharmacist might tell you that if you get the generic equivalent, they would only cost $80, making you think you are "saving" $20. What the pharmacist is not telling you is that those 100 generic pills may have only cost him $10!

At the end of the report, one of the anchors asked Mr. Wilson whether or not there were any pharmacies that did not adhere to this practice, and he said that Costco consistently charged little over their cost for the generic drugs.

I went to the Costco site, where you can look up any drug, and get its online price. It says that the in-store prices are consistent with the online prices. I was appalled. Just to give you one example from my own experience, I had to use the drug, Compazine, which helps prevent nausea in chemo patients.

I used the generic equivalent, which cost $54.99 for 60 pills at CVS. I checked the price at Costco, and I could have bought 100 pills for $19.89. For 145 of my pain pills, I paid $72.57. I could have got 150 at Costco for $28.08.

I would like to mention, that although Costco is a "membership" type store, you do NOT have to be a member to buy prescriptions there,as it is a federally regulated substance. You just tell them at the door that you wish to use the pharmacy, and they will let you in. (this is true)

I went there this past Thursday and asked them. I am asking each of you to please help me by copying this letter, and passing it into your own e-mail, and send it to everyone you know with an e-mail address.
---

P.S. from Steve: I received this email from a friend along the high-line in northern Montana, Dorothy R. Other than correcting one of the percentages it comes to you exactly as I received it. Please add comments if you either confirm or question this information.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

La Galleria -- Fine Italian Cuisine

We bought a restaurant in Edmonds today. Our younger son, Josh, is coming back from Montana to run it. It has been operating as an Italian restaurant for 19 years under a variety of names and owners; two recent names were Ciao Italia Ristorante and Ciao Stella Mia. Josh will be the owner/manager with the new name La Galleria.

In case you are in search of great Italian food and a selection of fine wines, check it out. Edmonds is on the Amtrak line just north of Seattle and it has the terminal for the Kingston ferry. La Galleria is located at 546 5th Ave S, Edmonds, Washington. It turns out that 5th Ave S is the same as highway 104, so driving north from Seattle on I-5 then exit 177 north-west from I-5 towards Edmonds/Kingston ferry (Do Not take the ferry turnoff) takes you right on to 5th Ave S. It is only a few blocks from the ferry terminal or the train station. Map

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Retired but very much alive!

There is a saying, "Grow or Die." Well, I have been working on the internet, managing web servers and developing web sites for the past several years. It has been satisfying and I have been able to help out some businesses, individuals and organizations; however, there is so much more that I am interested in and a disciplined approach is appropriate.

So...it is back to school for awhile. Straight west of our Washington home in the Maple Leaf community within Seattle, less than a mile as the crow flies, is the North Seattle Community College. They have a special program that I call "the old guy program" designed for people in my age bracket to continue their education at a reduced tuition. We have to wait for a week after normal students complete their enrollment to make sure there will be space. Do you know of any advanced computer/IT classes that are bulging at the seams? So waiting was no problem.

Of the four IT faculty members only two are teaching this quarter; one fellow took a high-paying industry job and another is off enjoying the benefits of a fellowship elsewhere. The result is that the most reasonable course of study is UNIX networking or UNIX networking or UNIX networking in a LINUX environment. Well that is what I chose. My particular course is IT 140 -- UNIX Scripts for Network Administrators covering primarily Bash and Perl scripting for Linux.

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Our old Honeywell mainframe for the Office of Public Instruction used a version of UNIX called Level 6. They called it a minicomputer, but it had enough computing power to keep track of the state's public schools--students, teachers, transportation, federal grants and all the other financial issues. Public schools are the largest single item in the state budget and we passed out all that money very efficiently. We had COBOL, FORTRAN, a great database language and a great script editor. To begin with in the 1970's this was a room-sized computer but we upgraded to rack-mounted hardware with hard drives that were only the size of washing machines; the disks were removable too. Well, I was only a user on this system so I had no cause to study the system administration for it.

Now with free versions of LINUX readily available and with LINUX providing most of the horse power to drive the INTERNET, it is time to pick up some of those system skills...
Stay tuned.