Bad Maths

So, using this, I can work out how much of a burden to taxpayers I am per year;

Lansoprazole OD 30mg – £19.76 per year
Diazepam PRN 2mg – £3.84
Morphine syrup PRN 5mg/10ml – £49.18
Modified release morphine BD 10mg – £49.14
Diclofenac BD 75mg – £36.27
Laxido PRN – £51.87
Glycerin suppositories PRN 4mg – £58.76

Divide each of those by 13 to get my monthly budget. I’m actually quite a bargain, I think. Every month that I take everything on-time and sensibly saves the £700 ambulance ride to the nearest hospital, then the £1,000-ish cost of a typical day in A+E (Can’t remember where those figures came from, sorry, but they were current in 2013). Which, by the way, without apprppriate medication I could be making once a fortnight.

What do you cost?

I’ll happily acknowledge that chronic pain patients stockpile drugs, and that’s for a couple of reasons;

1) We don’t know when policy will be changed from On High and we’ll be left unmedicated long-term. Some out-of-date morphine and all the NSAIDs we can scrape together could be the difference between life and death then.

2) We have so much difficulty getting our prescriptions filled in the first place, due to bureaucracy, that trying to change what’s dispensed from month to month is a risk that could end in having things removed entirely.

3) Plenty of us are old, easily confused or forgetful. The solution to this isn’t to tell us that we’re expensive, it’s to start giving out seven-day pill boxes in pharmacies, or charts where patients could note which pills they need to take at which time.

4) Plenty of us don’t finish courses of medication because the side effects are too severe, or they react unpredictably with another medication. This is just how life goes when you’re constantly trying to refine your chemical intake so that you feel normal.

…You’d have to be completely ignorant of anything to say that the major reason that people have unused medication lying around is “because they don’t know that it’s expeinsive”.


6 thoughts on “Bad Maths

  1. You’re worth every penny of our hard-working family’s hard-earned taxes Percy. Keep taking the pills with pride and not guilt. 🙂

    • Thank you 😀 I shall consider myself to be personally sponsored by you, so when people go on about The Taxpayer not wanting to fund me, I can say “I know The Taxpayer, she’s a health writer with an eye for spotting up-and-coming illustrators, proverbial green fingers, and an overarching love of cats. She says it’s fine.”

      My usual argument is just that with my medication I’m a happy ball of sunshine that really looks after himself (See yesterday’s fifteen-minute kilometre!), and without it I descend into lying in the wreck of my bed and slowly fill it with packets of instant noodle soup.

      Thank you Cathy, you’re one of the good ones.

  2. NICE says: “Patients do not always take their medicines exactly as prescribed, and healthcare professionals are often unaware of how patients take their medicines. The purpose of assessing adherence is not to monitor patients but rather to find out whether patients need more information and support.

    1.2.1 Recognise that non˗adherence is common and that most patients are non˗adherent sometimes. Routinely assess adherence in a non˗judgemental way whenever you prescribe, dispense and review medicines.

    1.2.2 Consider assessing non-adherence by asking the patient if they have missed any doses of medicine recently. Make it easier for them to report non˗adherence by:

    asking the question in a way that does not apportion blame

    explaining why you are asking the question

    mentioning a specific time period such as ‘in the past week’

    asking about medicine-taking behaviours such as reducing the dose, stopping and starting medicines.

    1.2.3 Consider using records of prescription re˗ordering, pharmacy patient medication records and return of unused medicines to identify potential non˗adherence and patients needing additional support.”

    It’s odd isn’t it? NICE doesn’t make any recommendations about printing the costs of meds on the box with crap about paid for by the taxpayer. Evidence-based policy for the win (not).

    • They’re both good value for money – Just depends on whether you want to be showered with tea and cakes, or stuck in a badger costume…

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