2000 percent more expensive

2000 percent more expensive


To the Editor:

My daughter’s broken toe brought us to the emergency room in November. I recently received the final invoice. Why the cost of ibuprofen in a hospital setting would be over 2,000 percent  greater than the retail cost, I don’t understand. One 600 mg pill in the hospital was $28.79. In BJ’s you can purchase a bottle of 300 pills, each being 200 mg, for $12.25. My suggestion, the hospital should buy its OTC medicines at BJ’s.

Robert W. Herman

West Tisbury


  1. Tisburygirl, one shouldn’t amortize the overhead costs into the raw material cost. Charge for the overhead by all means and the service provided including the time of the doctor, other materials and equipment used. Do that, but then when you dispense the cheap ibuprofen and charge so much you expose yourself to all manner of suspicion. Its just dumb invoicing.

  2. Cost of pill: $0.01.
    Cost of having a doctor listen to you and decide what pill to give, and providing the pill in an ER: $28.78.
    Total: $28.79

    This letter is sort of like complaining that a glass of milk in a restaurant costs the same as a gallon of milk at XtraMart.

    1. sailor116 you didn’t read the letter. They got a bill and it included many things but also for the pill. the pill was not the only charge they got so your argument that the doctor had to be paid is faulty. He was paid on another portion of the bill. By all means pay the overhead and the doctor and all that, but the over the counter pill should be given at cost. It is not a prescription pill.

  3. You are looking at the billed amount, a charge created by the provider and submitted to payer for billing. It is an essence an arbitrary number used to justify and cover the cost of uninsured/charity care

    The allowed or contracted rate is the “actual” price established contractually between your insurer and the establishment you are seeking services and is what is used in the calculation of your final bill (with further deductions for co-pay, co-insurance, etc.).

    If the bill for an ibuprofen is $28.79, the contracted rate is far less (~$0.50) and unlikely to be itemized in the portion showing how much you owe. It is simply rolled into the portion covered by your insurance. Also including in the markup is the overhead (facility, maintenance, staff, insurance, capital improvements, etc) as stated previously.

    This highlights the importance of being a cost-conscious consumer, i.e. selecting appropriate level of insurance coverage given age/family/health concerns and staying within provider networks. Additionally, it sometimes helps to contact the provider to receive an explanation of services billed. Often times, the bill can be adjusted after reconsideration.

  4. The pill costs that much because person x walks into the emergency room for a cold, x also brings children y and z because x thinks they might be sick later and why not be prepared. . None of them have health insurance or any means of identification. Having seen a nurse and a doctor and taking exams they will leave with medicine and a prescription. There is no correct address or phone number given at time of check in. The bill goes out and comes back return to sender. That is why your pill costs 28.79

    1. You might have mentioned that most of the X, Y and Zs with no insurance who come to the hospital here come from an unnamed South American country, and most of these unnamed citizens from that country are here illegally.

  5. If not an emergency, go to Falmouth Hospital…about 60% less. We need new management at MV Hospital.