Growing Old Is Not For Weenies. It’s Good To Have A Friend In Canada.

I got gout.

Of all things, after a long winter in which I survived two spine surgeries to relieve pressure from a herniated disc on my sciatic nerve, I woke up one morning in early March with excruciating pain in the big toe on my left foot.

My first thought was an ingrown toenail, so I went to my doctor and he carved me up a bit and sent me home, with instructions to take some of the opioids I had been taking for my back problem for a couple of days, until my toe quit hurting.

It didn’t quit. So he referred me to a podiatrist, who said I probably had gout, he wasn’t quite sure, but gave me a prescription for gout pills.  It’s called Colchicine, and it makes your big toe feel better. Not 100 per cent better, but a whole lot better. He said he would give me a prescription for 30 pills, but I should quit taking them when my toe quits hurting. Shouldn’t take more than a few days, he said. I should keep the rest for flare-ups, which happen occasionally.

So I traipsed up to the pharmacy to pick up my Colchicine. And the druggist said “Just so you know, before I fill this, it’s $190 for these 30 pills.”

Whoa, I thought to myself. How bad does that toe really hurt? A hundred and ninety bucks worth?

So, recalling the words of the doctor who said he was giving me more than I needed right now, I asked “How much for 12?”

“That would be $80,” was the reply. I thought for a minute, and said “Okay, give me 12.”

Now keep in mind I have prescription drug insurance, so that was just my co-payment cost.

I guess drug companies believe that old saw about gout being a “rich man’s disease,” and figure they can get away with outrageous prices.

Well, gout’s not only a rich man’s disease, it’s an old man’s disease. I’m old, but I’m not rich. I took my 12 pills and went home. I took them. The gout went away. Pretty much. A twinge once in a while, but easy to live with. The problem is, there are things you are not supposed to consume when you have gout. Good things. Things I really like. Things like red meat, scallops, asparagus and beer. Some of my favorite things.

So, for ten days I avoided those things.  And took my pills. And I felt pretty darn good.

But I got to thinking. The doctor said I “probably” have gout but he wasn’t sure. What if I had another problem with my big toe, not gout, and it had just gone away on its own? I didn’t want to quit eating things I really like if it really wasn’t necessary. So I decided to do a field test. Scallops. God, they were good. And yep, I have gout.

I limped around for a couple days and the pain subsided. And for a couple weeks, I felt pretty good. Until last weekend. At a nice restaurant Saturday night, I perused the menu and decided to forego the red meat, and I ordered the tuna. Turns out I hadn’t read far enough down the list of foods not to eat—I had gotten discouraged at scallops. Tuna was on there. And I am paying a price for that, yet today.

So I decided to get some more of those nifty little pills that take the pain away. But at $80 for 12—more than $6.50 a pop—I had to weigh the possibility this would go away on its own.  It hasn’t, as of Thursday afternoon.

So I decided to check the Canada Drugs website to see what they were selling for in Winnipeg. Now, I wrote about Canada Drugs a few months ago, but the next day, I found a bad math error, and I wasn’t sure if I could even get it corrected, so I just yanked the post from my blog. I never did get around to ordering anything from them. Until this week.

I went to their website and typed in Colchicine. Popped right up.

$83.04.

For 100.

83 cents each. As opposed to $6.66 each at my pharmacy a month ago.

And the company was a joy to deal with. I needed to call their toll-free number to get a password to be able to order from the website, and the nice customer service lady who answered said “As long as you’re on the phone, let me just take your order now and then I’ll give you a password to use online next time.”

The lady was in Winnipeg, so we’re practically neighbors. She took my order and I asked her if she wanted my credit card number to pay for them. She said that sometimes there are problems with credit cards across international lines, with currency exchange fees and such, and to save me money, how about if I just send her a check?

Really? When was the last time somebody asked you to send them a check? She said I should just send the check right away and she would go ahead and process the order while the check was in the mail. I felt like I had stepped back in time. Gotta love those Canadians.

I had to get a written prescription, and then scan it, and e-mail it to them. It took a few minutes for me to explain to my doctor and his nurse why I wanted 100 of those little buggers—that was the smallest quantity Canada Drugs wanted to send me—and they seemed a little nervous that I might be abusing them or something. But when I told them the pills were coming from Canada, they were quick to write out the prescription. I expect they’ve dealt with this before.

The only down side is it’s still going to take a couple weeks for the pills to get here, by the time the order works its way through their system and then through the Canadian and U. S. Mail systems. I hope by the time it gets here I don’t need them. Then again, I might just go out and have a scallops appetizer, some asparagus and a tuna steak. And a beer to wash it down. Just to be sure I really have gout.

Oh, and here’s the website. CanadaDrugs.com

 

6 Responses

    1. dorothy

      Yes for sure. For every dollar they spend advertising, they get around thirty dollars in return. so the drug business is alive and well.

  1. kae01

    But Jim remember when Sen Dorgan was going to take care of that? What happened? BTW, I am having my first experience with the VA. The time, the helpfulness, and pleasantness couldn’t be better, both at wherever the national office is and in Fargo.

  2. Tom

    I’ve done the same thing. I used one called The Canadian Pharmacy a couple of years ago. Then I used one called Northwest Pharmacy a month ago. All I had to do was scan my check and prescription and email it in. They sent an email verifying they had received the prescription and another when they sent it out.

    Just wait, Trump and the GOPers will try to make it harder or illegal to get prescriptions shipped from Canada.

  3. dorothy

    Sorry about your gout. the best cure for gout is to eat canned cherries. Yes, those little buggers that are prevalent in the summer and any more, fairly expensive too. Can a dozen or so cans as sauce. recipe in the cookbooks. use the light syrup less sugar. eat a few each day, like six or so. but if you have a good case of gout, eat a few more to get curing. this takes away the gout and besides they are not addictive and besides that it is a fruit. You can also trot over to the grocery and find canned cherries on the shelf. Eating them fresh won’t do it. they have to go through the canning process. I don’t know why, but it works. thanks for obeying this order!

  4. brockguntersmith

    Jim, first of all, OUCH TO THE GOUT! As a sufferer of gout, my stomach (and joints more specifically) knotted up right away reading your post, I literally feel for you and all us other gout-ers! Second, I must come clean and say that I work for Canada Drugs. I just stumbled across your post when a google news alert pointed me to your article. Third, I’m not here to sell anyone on us. To answer a couple quick questions you had in your post:

    1. Cheques – my oh my would we love to accept credit cards like all normal business have been doing for decades. Unfortunately U.S. based special interest groups have spent many years and millions of dollars campaigning companies like Visa, MasterCard, banks, payment processors and anyone else they can throw propaganda at to deny credit card processing services to LICENSED pharmacies that choose to engage in assisting patients in countries all around the world access CHOICE and AFFORDABLE medications when faced with prices that are simply too high locally. As a result, we have had to go back in time somewhat. But no matter what, we believe in a fundamental human right that all people should have access to the medications and medical care necessary to live a healthy and productive life. I’ve been working with Canadian mail-order pharmacies since the industry started back in 2001, and I can tell you that slowly but surely Big Pharma, with the help of their not so secretly funded special interest groups are doing a great job of making it increasingly difficult for people to be able to follow their doctor prescribed therapy.

    2. Speed of Delivery – much like above, special interest groups working on behalf of Big Pharma work wonders to scare off the likes of DHL, UPS, FedEx or others from helping patients access their needed medications. As such, we’re left with a few, slow, but reliable, methods of shipping products to patients. It takes time, but it gets there, and we go the extra mile to ensure that if for whatever reason the medication doesn’t make it there (like when a volcano in Iceland years ago disrupted mail systems for months because of the ash clouds blocking flight paths of the most active air cargo routes), the pharmacy will re-ship the medication at no charge.

    Every day is an uphill battle. Every day, we see articles always talking about the scary rogue pharmacies out there that are unsafe … AND THEY ARE UNSAFE AND SCARY … BUT … but, those same articles almost never actually offer solutions, or point people to SAFE options like licensed, inspected, regulated, mail-order pharmacies, until such time as the U.S. Government addresses the problem permanently by in some way putting the health of people, the health of its citizens, ahead of gross corporate profiteering. The pharmaceutical companies MUST profit, they MUST have financial incentives to innovate and push at the boundaries of science and technology, BUT, there MUST be a balance that recognizes the rights of all people to health and wellness equally.

    Fight the good fight Jim. I hope you are able to keep your gout as managed as possible while still enjoying all the culinary delights that make you happy. As a father to three beautiful girls, with whom I love baking and cooking, and then consuming our creations, just as above, I seek balance between what I love (food) and what I need (to not be debilitated by gout).

    All the best, from myself and the other 200 people in Winnipeg who take your calls, work in the pharmacy, pick, pack, and dispense the medications you need. 🙂

    Brock

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