The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

The seven hundred dollar pimple

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 9:22 pm on Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The town of PharmacyChickville has a dermatologist whose sole purpose in life seems to prescribe stupidly expensive drugs with long complicated instructions.  This doctor cannot write for anything cheap and easy. 

For example: this is a typical sig on something he writes:  Wash face with X brand soap, pat dry with white organically grown cotton towel.  Apply a pea sized amount of cream 30 minutes after washing to acne spots only.  Use on Monday, wednesday and Friday only.   (ok, I added the “white organically grown towel” part, but the rest is pretty spot on for accuracy).  Its quite rare to be able to fit ALL of his instructions on a standard pharmacy label.  He is also a sucker for every rep on the planet,  because if there is some obscure (and expensive) dermatological out there, HE will certainly find a way to prescribe it.

So………..I come to work and find 3 prescriptions in the FOA box ( things we need to order). Aczone, EpiDuo and Doryx 150 from this doctor.  They totaled almost $700.  She had the mother of all prescription plans apparently (some stranglehold union maybe?), because her copays were $6 all across the board. I expected to see some chick with a bad case of pizza face.

She came in the next day.  Nice looking gal, but the only zit I could see was one red spot above her left eye brow. 

Either she had been receiving samples and the stuff works spectacularily…or its just another example of wasting valuable health care dollars on the equivalent of zit cosmetics.

You decide.



Comment by Frantic Pharmacist

March 18, 2009 @ 7:10 am

I find this puzzling too — people coming in for new prescriptions for all this high-powered derm stuff. You look at them and think to yourself, “I would kill for that complexion” and yet the person often indicates they are just starting on the product. When it comes to ‘cosmetic’ items for the face people seem perfectly willing to pay any price, even if their insurance doesn’t cover it. Contrast that with the horrible-complexioned teenager who seems to get nothing out of their doctor but some wimpy benzoyl peroxide wash……it’s a mystery to me sometimes.


Comment by Ray Jay Rx

March 18, 2009 @ 8:13 am

I find this all the time will most of the Dermatologists in my area. Solodyn is better, Doryx is better, some new clindamycin foam .9% is better, etc.etc.etc. Its all comes to samples (because inevitably that is what I’m told they will just go back and get more of when the INS won’t cover) and the fact that dermatology is a guessing game. No one is doing bacteria studies on these random rashes, just give em a cream and hope it works. So they are always looking for something, ANYTHING that might work better. So much so that they tend to fall hook, line, and samples for every drug rep that walks in with the next “wonder” pimple medicine.


Comment by sickofstupidpeople

March 18, 2009 @ 9:10 am

I was a victim of adult onset acne in my early 30’s, and am so thankful I was unable to get an appointment with a dermatologist (they were booked for 3 months out!), because I wasn’t willing to pay those kind of bucks… Have you noticed that derms always write ‘dispense as written’ as well as picking the most expensive product? My primary care doc gave me some generic clinda gel, and after a month, when I told her I couldn’t reach the spots on my back that I needed to apply it to, she put me on cheapo doxy 100mg. Worked like a charm!
If only we could somehow convince those dermatologists to quit listening to the drug reps and stick with the old standbys – we’d have patients with clear skin AND fat wallets!


Comment by chris

March 19, 2009 @ 6:17 am

People make me laugh when it comes to cosmetics, they bitch about paying anything at all for medication, you know, that life saving stuff you HAVE to take every day, but will spend a fortune on cosmetics. I know for a fact that my partner carries around at least £50-75 worth of mascarar, eyeliner, perfunes etc in her handbag every day, and she is pretty tame in comparsion to some people.

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