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.”
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.