A recent Bleader post expressed my puzzlement, suspiciousness, and anger at the prices I confronted the other day when I stopped at the local CVS to pick up a refill of a drug I need—mephyton, aka vitamin K. It's expensive and Medicare doesn't cover it, so I'd brought along coupons that I believed would drop the cost to about $340 for a bottle of 30 tablets. Instead, CVS quoted me a price that was over $500.
Thursday I heard from goodrx.com, the website where I found the coupons. "The coupon you printed on GoodRx displayed an incorrect price," a spokesperson reported. "While the pharmacy is under contract to provide a discount and the coupon is legitimate, the price shown on the coupon was simply wrong—we were provided an incorrect price, and we did not know it was incorrect at the time you printed the coupon.
"We recently had a coupon price of $333.74 listed at CVS Pharmacy in your area for Mephyton 5mg 30 tablets. Unfortunately, the prices have gone up for this particular drug, and the coupon provider had not made us aware of this change. You were charged the correct price with the coupon that you were using, as the current price for Mephyton 5mg 30 tablets at CVS with this particular coupon is $476.82."
This apology (which the goodrx.com e-mail became, with the website offering me a $20 Amazon gift card for my troubles) doesn't clear everything up. The price I paid, $476.82, was the price CVS charged before I showed the pharmacist my coupons; and after I'd done that it jacked the price up above $500. The pharmacy retreated only after I raised my voice, clenched my jaw, and transmitted all the other classic warning signs of a powder keg about to explode. At least I'd like to think it feared my wrath.
Nevertheless, the goodrx.com communique bathes CVS in a considerably less sinister light, and the record needs to show that.
I'm turning down the gift card. It's unseemly to profit from your own illness.