Ever Get the Feeling You’ve Been Ripped Off?

I must say there is one upside to being sick in India: the drugs (and the doctor visits) are very cheap. Not sure if I mentioned before, but I had the best dental cleaning ever while here and it cost about $25. That’s not a co-pay amount. That’s the full fee.

At any rate, I’m on all these drugs for the jaundice now. Some have worked, some haven’t. But at least I haven’t spent a ton of money to find out. So far, I’ve spent Rs. 583.75 on seven different kinds of drugs. I think that’s about $12, but you can check for sure on oanda.com.

I did a quick search on the net to see what the going rate was for three of the drugs that I’m taking now: Liv.52 DS (an herbal drug to replenish the liver), Becosules capsules (for B vitamin complex), and Allegra (to stop the itching that comes with the late stages of jaundice). The prices I have paid don’t even begin to compare with what I would pay in the States, or even if I slipped over into Canada.

For instance, the lowest price I could find online for a bottle of 60 Liv.52 DS tablets was $7.99. India price: 65 Rupees, or about $1.20. For Becosules, I found an online discounter in Canada that was selling the pills for $.28 cents per capsule. India price: 21 Rupees for 20 capsules, or about $0.50 total.

The price of the Allegra is what shocked me the most. I couldn’t quickly find a price for a six-pack of Allegra pills, but I did find a vendor selling them for $79.99 for 30 tablets. I did the math and figured out that was approximately $15.99 per 6-tab box. India price: 58.75 Rupees. Yep…just a little over a dollar.

Maybe it’s because people get sick more in India that the prices for medicine are lower. Or maybe it’s because U.S. consumers front the bill for pharmaceutical R&D that prices are so high stateside. But something seems awfully wrong with the American system. I certainly didn’t need to come to India to have that pointed out to me, but I am really amazed by the difference.

By the way, all those politicians who keep saying that they can’t ensure that drugs manufactured overseas are safe for American consumers are feeding us some pretty lame excuses for our outrageously overpriced healthcare. Oh…are the elections over? Well, something to think about for next time.

5 comments

  1. karilyn says:

    glad you are starting to feel a little better. me on the other hand.. i’ve come down with malaria! it never ends in this country does it.

    all of meds cost a total of 200 rupees. at least thats cheap. but my doctor bills weren’t that cheap b/c i refused to leave the house (104 fever, meant NO rickshaw for me!).

    and you need to tell me where you dentist is – i’ve been dying to find a good dentist!

    one of these days we’ll both feel well enough to meet in real life!
    feel better.

  2. Vikas says:

    Good to hear that you’re feeling better.
    Almost all medical services are pretty inexpensive in India (as compared to North America).
    I guess part of the reason is that a majority of the population cannot afford the higher prices that we see in NA. As an example, we recently bought a cream for our daughter that cost over a hundred $ (Canadian). In Indian Rupees, that’s probably a month’s pay for a big % of the Indian population. I guess they price things based on what the market will bear. Which I totally dont like as far as medical services go. I mean whether your dad bought into Microsoft stock in its early days or not shouldn’t determine the level or medical care you can get.
    Just my 2 cents.

  3. karilyn says:

    yeah.. i also think its so cheap here b/c there aren’t any patent laws, so there is bigger competition. and they aren’t regulated by pharma companies dictating the price. and they aren’t having to pay for all the research of new drugs, which is where the big pharma companies say your money goes when you buy their meds. who knows.. but yeah, rip off. and i think the medicine here is just fine – no safety problems that i can see!!

    hope you are getting back to normal and having a nice valentines!

  4. Vikas says:

    That and the fact that the drug companies know that ppl dont have insurance. I bet if the concept of drug benefits caught on in India, drug prices would go up pretty quick.
    Out here the first thing my dentist asks is … how often does ur insurance cover a recall exam? Ok so we’ll see u in 6 months 🙂
    Oh you’re not sure … well why dont we book you for a 6 month appt and if you find out any different, we can always reschedule.

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