“$380 for nine pills a month is outrageous, Doc!” He was almost shouting into the phone. I held the receiver away from my ear. He had just finished telling my medical assistant that I was lazy.
“I agree completely, sir.” I took a deep breath and launched into my spiel.
I told him that he needed to check with his insurance company to find out if one of the other erectile dysfunction meds was cheaper. I already knew the answer was no. I had been through this dozens of times with other patients. In fact I had told him this before, several times. Still, he was not going to believe it until he heard it from the horse’s mouth, otherwise in his mind I was just not trying hard enough.
“I know I am not the only person with insurance from this company in your practice,” he accused.
“You are right. But each major insurance company has dozens of sub policies negotiated by employers. There is no possible way I can know and keep track of them all particularly when they change each year.”
“I’ll just find myself another doctor…”
What did he want me to say?
No wait! Don’t go! Please keep verbally abusing my staff for something beyond our control.
I could not blame him for acting like a prick. I understand his frustration, even if it was misdirected. The pharmaceutical companies and the insurance industry were holding his sex life for ransom and it was NOT fair. He was a young man. He had a relationship. He had every right to be angry.
Viagra was first approved by the FDA in 1998 and it is under patent in the US until 2020. There may be a generic available in the US in 2017 but that has been changed before by legal wrangling so I am not holding my breath. Incidentally the generic has been available in dozens of other countries for years. This fact has caused the price of Viagra to increase streadily to an average of $35-40 per pill in the US, a cost that is not covered by most insurance policies.
Meanwhile, in the UK a pack of four generic sildenafil costs £1.45, about $2.26….