Another little rant…

Posted: May 6, 2009 in Uncategorized

How much is too much?


Part of my condition means that there’s a piece of disposable medical equipment that I have to buy every couple of months or so. It’s not easily available and I’ve been sourcing it from a nearby hospital which, very kindly I thought, has been charging me the item at cost. That cost was around R900 but on my last visit my contact told me that he could no longer do this and that I would have to pay the full price that they normally charged – R2,100! Shocked at this kind of increase (and unable to afford it regularly), I approached my local pharmacist who then made a few calls and was able to source it directly from the local importer. He did charge this to me at cost price, which was..R325.

I’m not against companies making a profit, even a healthy one, but something balks against this kind of moneymaking. Never mind that the charge up from the importer to the hospital is almost 300%, the hospital then more than doubles the price charged to the patient, so that the end difference is more than 600%! It’s usually the medical aid that ends up paying, but all our costs go up as a result of them carrying these kind of charges. Surely even 200% would represent a healthy profit: is this kind of extortion really necessary?

What exacerbates things is that this particular item is basically a life or death thing for the patient involved – he has no real choice as to whether or not to take it and that makes the situation seem all the more one of exploitation. I have, at the best of times, difficulties with a profession that takes advantage of people like that, one where a chance for health and recovery is denied simply because of a lack of funds.  Even above and beyond that, this example sticks in the throat.

  1. Grant says:

    Rant accepted!!! What a bunch of Shylocks!

    The medical industry is one of those that has had a bad reputation for so long – and the life or death component just makes one feel absolutely helpless.

  2. P.A.N says:

    Whatever happened to the Hippocratean oath? Surely all medical services should subscribe to it sentiments?

  3. Grant says:

    Isn’t that the same root word as hypocrite? 😉

  4. P.A.N says:

    Good one Grant

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