The $18 baby aspirin, and other horror stories

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

Hospital markups on drugs are notoriously high. Here are some examples, from a piece by Susan Jaffe at Kaiser Health News, in collaboration with USA Today:

“In Missouri, several Medicare observation patients were billed $18 for one baby aspirin, said Ruth Dockins, a senior advocate at the Southeast Missouri Area Agency on Aging.

“Pearl Beras, 85, of Boca Raton, Fla., said in an interview that her hospital charged $71 for one blood pressure pill for which her neighborhood pharmacy charges 16 cents.

“In California, a hospital billed several Medicare observation patients $111 for one pill that reduces nausea; for the same price, they could have bought 95 of the pills at a local pharmacy, said Tamara McKee, program manager for the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program at the Alliance on Aging in Monterey County, Calif., who handled at least 20 complaints last year from Medicare beneficiaries about excessive hospital drug bills.”

–Susan Jaffe,  $18 For A Baby Aspirin? Hospitals Hike Costs For Everyday Drugs For Some Patients – Kaiser Health News