Neulasta: $6000 or $75, you pick

After chemo last Tuesday, my awesome nurse Amy suggested we try to call in a prescription for Neulasta and see if my insurance company would cover it that way and give it to me for $50 (my highest drug co-pay). Then my doctor in Chatham could stick me with it on Wednesday and I wouldn’t have to come back to Albany for a 3-minute appointment.

The CVS down the street from Albany Med had a dose to prescribe for me…we went to pick it up…it cost $50. List price on the receipt: $2856 or something. We took it home and put it in the fridge, and the next afternoon Dr. Jeff in Chatham did the honors and I paid him the usual $25 co-pay. The instructions for the Neulasta said, and I kid you not, “Remove injector from carton before injecting.” They don’t mess around telling you exactly how to use such expensive medicine, I guess.

So: round 1 Neulasta? Over $6,000 all told. Round 2 Neulasta? $75 total.

Health insurance is so deeply weird.

And Dr. Jeff points out that New York Oncology Hematology is criminal for charging that much for a drug. After all, it only costs $2856. How do they think they can get away with charging over twice that much? (See previous paragraph for the answer.)

2 thoughts on “Neulasta: $6000 or $75, you pick

  1. francois

    Glad the insurance now covers it!
    How about some simple therapy by renaming the “sick” category into “healing”?
    Much Love to you all!

  2. ekhb

    Hi, Francois! An astute suggestion. I think if it meant to me “I am sick” I would have to rush to take your advice. One of the books I’m reading (Dancing with the Diagnosis) talks a lot about reframing the experience of dealing with cancer by watching your words and replacing them with less freighted words when you notice what you’re doing to yourself with them. However, to me for this purpose “sick” and “well” are two places I dwell in, two levels of my life, rather than two adjectives describing me. I can be healing in the world of the sick…I can be feeling sick in the world of the well (but not lately).

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