Want it good, want it cheap
I started replying to Oz Bloke on the subject of this letter and decided I might as well just post a new entry altogether.
High prices for common drugs in HDB heartland
MY CHILD was sick, down with a bad cough, sore throat, runny nose and a slight fever on Feb 16. At 9pm, our family doctor had left so we went to another private clinic - 'Street 11 Clinic' at Block 139 Tampines Street 11.
After a brief consultation, she was given these medicines: cough syrup (one bottle, 'Dhasedyl, 90ml'); a packet of 'Danzen' (20 tablets, 5mg) for the throat; 'Telfast D' (10 tablets) for runny nose and antibiotics 'Klacid MR' (five 500mg tablets for throat and nose).
I was astonished when I received the bill. These medicines cost me $80. I am puzzled at the high cost because I believe that my daughter's symptoms were fairly common and she was treated by a locum.
I feel the clinic had either overcharged and jacked up the price of common drugs, or did it give me unnecessarily expensive drugs for a common illness?
I asked the receptionist for a breakdown of the cost of the various medicines. To my surprise, the staff informed me that the five antibiotic tablets alone cost $37.
I believe Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan had mentioned that affordable medicines be provided for patients at reasonable prices. Yet the clinic in our heartlands is charging drugs such as 'Klacid MR' at an exorbitant price. This is a worrying problem which I hope can be addressed to benefit the masses.
Gan Siok Wah (Mdm)
Not too bad as complaint letters go - the author sticks mainly to the point about drug costs, although she could not help casting doubt on the doctor's professionalism ('a locum'), or appealing to authority in her last paragraph.
I don't think it is my place to judge if the drugs were unnecessary (or unnecessarily expensive?) or 'jacked up' in price. Certainly it is a fair question.
What I am curious to know, however, is this: what do you think is the right price for your daughter's medical care when you were obviously worried enough by her illness that you took her to a private clinic at night instead of just giving her some OTC drugs and waiting till the next day (Feb 17 is not a Sunday) to go to a polyclinic?
Is $80 really unaffordable, or just an expense one would rather not incur?
(People complain about the cost of healthcare, yet for the vast majority of working adults and children, a year's healthcare expenditure would not exceed the cost of that year-end trip to Australia or Korea?)
While I agree with the idea of clinics not dispensing drugs, I think the patients too may need to consider a paradigm change and start to look at sick expenses as part of their necessary budget and not an unexpected loss.