Our Experience with the Cost of Medicine in the US vs. New Zealand

We are in New Zealand now and it looks like we’ll be here for a while.

We have enough of epilepsy meds for Nina until mid-May when we were planning to be back in Serbia where we have more supplies waiting for him. But the world is on lockdown now and it’s questionable when we’ll be able to get back to Europe or the US.

With a great kid like this, we gotta plan ahead. Even though we still have 2 months of his meds left, we can’t predict how bad things can get around here and how long we might need to stay put. Securing more meds for Nina now is a good disaster planning strategy just in case things get tougher around here.

To get the ball rolling, we had to see a doctor to get a prescription for a 3-month supply of his 2 medications. We did that yesterday.
I just got off the phone with a pharmacy that is getting the meds ready for us to pick up tomorrow.
I also called our pharmacy back in the US to see what the situation would be if we had to come home and then buy the same meds, for the same time period, with no insurance.

Once again, the United States of America’s healthcare system fails miserably in comparison to another world’s country (see my post on our overall experience with healthcare around the world).

In the US, 2 meds that Nina takes, for 3 month supply, cost $8,125 (brand) or $4,251 (generics) + doc visit probably another $200-$300.
In New Zealand, the same meds, 3-month supply, cost $99.70 (brand) + $45 doc visit.

Read that again – US $8,125 vs. NZ $99.70 (of course, w/no insurance in either place)!!!

That’s 81 TIMES more expensive in the US than in NZ.

With the current global crisis, the US is turning out to be less prepared and more at risk than many other nations. It is painful to watch the news of all that’s happening back home and to think of people that will be drowning in healthcare debt after it all passes.
At the same time, what we are experiencing in NZ (and what we have seen around the globe so far) is how it could be at home in the US.

The average citizen of the US is fooled into thinking that it has to be this way. It doesn’t!

The United States of America is a great nation with the friendliest people and tons of strengths. It’s our only home, we love where we live and we will be back there soon. However, my point is that we got to turn this crisis into an opportunity to start making drastic changes to the system that does not work for most citizens.

I’m sure that the healthcare system in NZ has its issues too. But gosh darn it, we can learn a thing or two from the top 30 world nations, starting with the healthcare that works better everywhere than it does in the USA.

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