August 10, 2011


Our first month in Spain is not yet upon us and we´ve been to the doctor three times and the pharmacy double that.  Here´s the shopping list:

Albuterol chamber refills (inhaled) x 4
Synthroid refill x 1

Removal of Charlie´s stitches
18 month check up for Henry
Laboratory visit for Henry
Blood draw for a check thyroid

Now for the shock and awe:

We arrived at our each of our appointment times and were told to take a number and to sit oustide the designated exam room door until said number was called.  Approximately ten minutes later we were called back by the physician´s assistant.  The exam room was sterile and perhaps a bit institutional looking with all that white.  The tending nurse was gentle yet professional. The doctor, thorough and prompt. 

We never made a copay. 
We never saw a bill.

To the left, my US prescription
A 30 day supply of thyroid medication
      to the tune of $1/pill. Thank you, copay. 
The amount billed my insurance
company is $165. Scan to the right and
you see the SAME medication, made by the
SAME manufacturer except here
I get an 84 day supply to the tune of 4,85€,
which at last exchange was approximately $6. 

What the hell is up with THAT, Merck?

Surely we´d be taking it up the butt at the pharmacy, right?  The last time I was in HyVee, I shuttered when an elderly woman in front of me handed one of her prescriptions back to the pharmacist and said she´d have to wait til her next check came in to pick that one up.  I had heard of people doing that but never actually witnessed it first hand.   The whole scene really upset me.  It wasn´t like she was in line for a botox refill.  Was it a diabetes med?  Arthritis?   Had my own RX list not emptied my pockets of $120, I could have helped her out.  Or could I? 

So we go to the neighborhood phamacy with a heavy heart.  It´s gonna hurt.  What?  2 euros for the albuterol?  Are you sure about that?  But that´s not even five bucks.  Our copay back home was ten.  My thyroid mdeication is 4,85 euros for an 84 day supply? How can that be when my copay used to be $30 for ONE month?  Wait a minute.  Is this blackmarket?  Come on, you can be honest.  Really, I just need to know.  And we leave whistling Zippety Doo-Dah all the way home.


  1. Searching for apartments and one way flights right now. :-)

    I'm glad you are getting the kind of coverage that you deserve. Peaceful things.

  2. Spanish gov't subsidizes the drugs....super sweet isn't it!!!! I keep getting sticker shock after five years...though it is a nice kind of sticker shock I must say

  3. Maybe that's a reason that Spain is bankrupt like we are? :)

  4. I was thinking of you this afternoon-- just left the farmacia with two asthma inhalers and a full course of antibiotics, and it set me back a whopping 2,30 euros!