It’s Not The Pharmacies That Are Robbing You

To The Reader’s Forum:

In reading a comment from a previously submitted “Letter to the Editor,” I was moved enough to explain something to readers. The commenter claimed that pharmacies, like colleges, are robbing American taxpayers. This is not quite the case. Pharmacies are not robbing you; your insurance company and drug companies are robbing you.

Many pharmacies, specifically independent pharmacies, are faced with a serious struggle to even make money, let alone rob American taxpayers. Because of corporation pharmacies such as Wal-Mart, with their $4 prescription lists, independent pharmacies, in a quest to stay competitive, decide to match these price lists, which results in selling prescriptions at an almost-loss or with a profit of only a few dollars.

Adding to the struggle of independent pharmacies is the fact that many insurance companies do not actually reimburse a pharmacy for what the prescription costs that pharmacy. Because drug companies, especially companies that produce brand name drugs, enact their own unregulated price-fixing of sorts, they can essentially have their own monopoly over drugs that they own the patent for. When a drug company decides to randomly increase the price of the drug they produce, insurance companies may not adjust to this change in price before a prescription for said drug is filled. When this happens, the pharmacy, if they choose to fill the prescription, is forced to potentially fill that prescription at a loss. Sometimes this potential loss is a severe loss, in the excess of a couple hundred dollars. Add in overhead costs, the costs of paying employees, and paying your wholesaler. Not really robbing, is it?

This all is anything but pharmacies robbing American taxpayers, or anyone for that matter. Pharmacies are being robbed by a society that requires them to sell prescriptions at the lowest possible price in order to please consumers. The same consumers that don’t complain about being robbed blind when they purchase clothing marked up to result in a profit that is robbing. How much do you think it costs to produce a t-shirt that is sold at $25? How about a prescription that is being sold at $25? What is so wrong with a pharmacy that tries to make a $20 profit but not a chain clothing store that does the same?

Laura Imm