Saturday, March 13, 2010

An Expensive Prescription and some Quality time with your Doctor





A woman complains to her female doctor that she's experiencing dryness in her eyes. It seems that this complaint comes at the end of the examination, and was not the purpose of the visit. It also seems that the patient's examination took place in a massive office building that bears no resemblance to any hospital or medical building I've ever seen.

Female doctor looks deeply concerned. "How often do you take eye drops?"

"Several times a day."

Female doctor: "I'm writing you a prescription for Restasis."

Well, that was certainly a thorough examination, wasn't it? "Doctor, my eyes dry out during the day, and I use eye drops." Doctor: "here's a prescription drug." Score one for realism, at least.

The fun doesn't end there, though. The patient and doctor now walk out of the "office," and down a long hallway, casually chatting about- well, dry eyes, I guess. The doctor assures the patient that "I take Restasis myself."

Patient: "You take Restasis?"

Doctor: "Twice a day."

Patient gives a reassured, "I guess it isn't poisonous then" nod to herself, and the long journey of these two women to the exit continues. Clearly, the doctor has no patients waiting to see her today, because it looks as though she's going to spend twenty minutes escorting this woman out of the building.

A couple of observations:

1. Does Restasis actually cure anything? If not, what makes it superior to over-the-counter eye drops? The patient here seems to be very satisfied with the prospect of giving up her $5 bottle of Visine for a $50 bottle of Restasis- why? Is Restasis superior because it's a prescription drug? Because it's more expensive? Because the doctor prescribed it after a six-second "examination" that involved nothing more than the patient announcing her symptoms and the doctor responding by whipping out her prescription pad?

2. I feel really slighted right now. My doctor has NEVER walked me out of his office, down the hall, and out the door. For some reason, he's always felt as if his business with me was complete the moment he handed me my prescription or gave me instructions on how to adjust my diet. I've never had a long, involved conversation with him which included a casual stroll around his building. What's wrong with me?

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