Friday, March 13, 2009

Half a Loaf

Today I received a formal offer from a software company about 12 miles from my house. The salary is awful, about 60% of what I was making at my last job in the banking software business. And the company’s product is boring, but not as boring as banking software, so I’ll count that as a bonus. The commute is the same distance as my old job, but in the opposite direction, which means I’ll be driving into the city with every other wage slave. I got spoiled driving against traffic for the past 11 years.

When I got laid off at the end of October, I expected it to take a minimum of 6 months to find work. We prepared for the worst by taking out a Home Equity Line of Credit on our house, which we planned to tap when our savings ran out. It’s been almost 5 months, and we’re near the end of our savings. We just missed the worst-case scenario, which I equate to eating your own leg for strength to walk.

The worst thing about this jobless situation is that I’m not a young whippersnapper anymore. I have a variety of stupid ailments, which require daily medication to alleviate symptoms. When my health insurance ran out, we decided not to pay for COBRA, which would have cost over a thousand dollars a month – money we didn’t feel comfortable spending. The medications I take are far too expensive to pay for without insurance, so I’ve been doing without. This means that I have to put up with some aggravations, but at least aggravations are free.

But one medication is too precious to do without: Imitrex. Imitrex is a miracle drug used to relieve migraine headaches. In my forties, I started getting migraines about once or twice a month, and take it from me, they suck.

When I got laid off, I filled the prescription immediately, before my insurance was cancelled. You only get nine pills. If I had to pay for them without insurance, the cost for those nine pills would be $288. That’s $32 a pill. Yesterday, I took the last one:


Imitrex has been around for long enough that the patent expired recently, so other pharmaceutical companies are free to make generic versions. But so far, there’s only one generic version on the market. The cost? $220 for nine pills. What a deal!

My health insurance at the new job won’t kick in for 30 days. I can only pray that I don’t get hit with any migraines during that time, because they’re completely incapacitating. Or, I can break U.S. Customs laws and order them sent to me by mail from a Canadian drug company, which only charges $79 for nine tablets of the generic version, plus $10 shipping.

OK, I’ll do my bit to stimulate the U.S. economy by buying products from American companies if those companies don’t hold me hostage to their bloated marketing schemes. Otherwise, those companies can sit back and watch their market share erode as financially-strapped Baby Boomers struggle to maintain their health by violating the law.

No comments: