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.