Thursday, March 19, 2015

Why is codeine (Hydrocodone) so damn expensive in Canada?

I got a terrible sore throat and cough this last week. The doctor asked me  if I had a drug plan as the medicine he was going to prescribe was expensive. I said yes and then he prescribed hydrocodone which cost me a whopping 45 dollars for a mere 150 ml!

This price is outrageous! $45-00 is almost  4-5 hours of wages of those earning minimum wage ! How the hell can low income folks afford this if it's so bloody expensive? In India the same amount of codeine  costs less  than 2-4 Canadian dollars.

I was told that it is priced  high in order to deter addiction. But this sounds like bull shit to me. I believe this is merely an excuse for the pharmaceutical companies to rip off people.

Imagine, those poor people who have to use public transport as they cant afford cars. They catch these colds, coughs or whatever contagious illness from other passengers on the public transport. Then they are suddenly faced with  huge health and economic consequences for no fault of their own! Many people don't have health insurance from their employers and have to pay for their own medicine.  Imagine having to shell out 45$ for a bottle of cough syrup out of the paltry money one makes on minimum wages. If they continue going to work without medication, they  spread their  infection or get dirty looks from their co-workers, who fear getting infected. And those in temp jobs without any benefits, don't get sick days and will have  either have their pay cut if they take time off to recover or even lose their jobs.

In Canada, a simple cold is a simple thing to deal with if one has a permanent job with health benefits such as a good drug plan, a sensible number of sick days per year, etc. On the other hand, if you are struggling to support yourself and your family on minimum wages in a job without benefits such as health  insurance & sick leave , a simple cold could screw you.
It is high time the government talks to employers in Canada and stop them from denying health benefits to their employees.

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