Yesterday I took my grandmother to a hospital nearby. She had been coughing the whole night and I thought if I could fix her a meeting with the 65-year-old general physician nearby, she would be happy.
My grandma had a ball of a time. The doctor held her hand (he said he was checking the pulse, but I don`t believe him) which made me turn my head away. When he continued his small talk beyond the customary ten minutes I had to excuse myself from the room.
While waiting outside, I realized the biggest truth of our times. Medicines are really costly and beyond the reach of the average IT professional who earns only INR 75,000 per month. I didn`t believe when my friends said drugs were costly but now I believe them.
Talking of drugs, I once tried sniffing coke. It managed it well for a while but couldn`t do anything once the straw stuck in my nose. Guess sniffing coke is no longer fashionable. But there was a time….a time when the world was normal and people took drugs to make it weird. Unfortunately, now the world is weird but people take anti-depressants to make it normal.
Coming back to drugs…I remember Art Buchwald writing in one of his columns that medicines in US were so costly that people had started storing them in their bank lockers.
While my thoughts were racing across the Atlantic ocean, I saw an investment banker walk into the pharmacy and ask: “What is the costliest tablet you have?”
While a confused Jammy looked at the investment banker, the pharmacist as a matter of fact replied: “You can either buy InvestiPill which costs INR 78,000 per tablet or go for CeleSave which costs INR 81,499.99 per tablet.”
I had never known that such pills existed. The tablets I ever bought – and I wonder whom I should thank for that …God because he ensured I wouldn`t need costly pills or our family doctor who never prescribed them – were Saridon, Anacin, Dart or at the max Strepcils. Mind you, they are very cheap pills costing INR 1 each.
I moved closer to the pharmacy counter and asked: “Sir, the gentleman who just paid you INR 2,34,000 and bought three Investipills never showed you a prescription.”
“Looks like you don`t invest,” the pharmacist said.
“No I don`t. In fact, that is one of the reasons why my wife and I fight over the morning coffee.” I shot back.
“Are you saying you are not aware of the increasing drug prices?”
I replied in the negative.
At my second consecutive reply in the negative the pharmacist didn`t reply. Perhaps he didn`t want to talk to me.
Even as I was leaving, I saw an old man walk towards the pharmacy. He had snow like white hair and was using a walking stick to balance himself. I took a step towards him and asked: “Sir, do you remember the good old times when medicines used to be cheaper?”
“I am sorry…I don`t know what you are talking about. BTW, does this pharmacy have tablets for Alzheimers?”
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