February 23, 2006

I love a Sunburnt Country…

2 min read

Posted 16 years ago
by Téa Smith

…where old folk whinge and moan.

You know you live in a pretty good country when a person can complain loudly in public about prescription medicine costing them $4.50 and nobody punches them in the face.

I sure wanted to give her a clip around the ear.

I was at the chemist picking up my usual $120-a-month worth of prescription medication when an older lady, dangling with jewellery mind you, was yelling at the poor pharmacy assistant because her medication had gone up from $4.20 to $4.50.

Now look, I understand the plight of people on fixed incomes as much as anybody — after all, there have been times when I have seen my Dad scraping the money together for his asthma medication (funnily enough finding the money for cigarettes… but thats a side point), but for God’s sake, when you are paying substantially less for your medication than the person next to you, and that person is NOT complaining, I think its time to just shut up.

I feel fortunate to live in this country, where I still dont pay more than $30 for most prescriptions. And, if I have to take a medication that costs more than the scheduled PBS fee, I can get a special script from my Dr that says I have tried other, cheaper medications that had bad side effects (I do this for my antidepressants — Citalopram gave me bad muscle twitches so I was put on the more expensive Lexapro).

I take 4 different medications and of course it adds up and it hits my pocket every month, but I also feel grateful that these things are subsidised. If medications were left to health insurance companies or worse, the free market, do you know what we’d be paying? A heck of a lot more than $4.50 or $28.

So, old people, or people who have health care cards, the next time you are bitching about how much your medication costs, think of the person next to you who may actually be paying 5x the amount you are, or worse yet, the people that have no safety net and have to pay full price.

Sometimes I think that we are so fortunate that we are complacent about how difficult it is for others.

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