How to stop cold, flu, heartburn medicines being prescribed to you
You’re probably already used to paying for medication with money you earn, so it’s no surprise that you’ll often hear it referred to as a “medicines shoppe” (medicare, drugs, shoppe).
But the term actually refers to the vast array of services and supplies available to people who can’t afford their own medications.
In reality, most people have to make do with what they have and the price of what they need.
“There are no perfect prices for medications, but we know that the average cost of the average medication for most Australians is about $200, and about $1,000 for some people,” says Dr Susan Geddes, a senior research associate at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Dr Gedds is also the chief executive of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), which provides advice to governments on how to spend $2.8 billion of Commonwealth funding each year on drugs.
The key is to think about the cost of what you need, how much you need it, and then weigh that against the cost to the individual.
In other words, what you get out of your prescription will be determined by your personal circumstances.
“When you buy your medication, the first thing you want to know is what is the lowest cost, and the most expensive,” Dr Guddes says.
“Then you can work out how much money you need to pay for it, what your average costs are, and compare that to what is available to you.”
This is a common misconception about how much it costs to buy medications.
“The truth is the average price of medications is between $300 and $400 a day,” she says.
This is because the cost depends on the type of medication you use, its cost per pill and how often you need the medicine.
The average price for cold medicine is about half the cost for antibiotics, which is why some people think cold medication is cheaper than antibiotic treatment.
“In a pinch you can buy antibiotics for about $30 to $40 a day, and you’ll get the same results as antibiotics, but you’ll be saving money,” Dr Paul McGraw, CEO of Pharmacy and pharmacy research firm Pharmareva, says.
It’s not the price, it’s the cost per day of taking medication Dr McGraw says you’ll need to compare this to if you’re not able to afford it.
“You’ll need an average cost per dose of medication, or cost per milligram of medication per day, to get a ballpark idea of the cost you’ll pay if you go out and buy your medicine,” he says.
If you’re unable to pay a higher price, you may be able to get free medication from pharmacies or the health service.
However, you’ll have to pay more than what you can afford for the same amount of time.
Dr McGrew says you can always get your medications at a discount if you live in a remote community, and it’s important to note this may not be the case in all parts of the country.
For example, some parts of Victoria and Tasmania have a higher cost of prescription medication than others.
“But you can find cheaper medicines in Victoria and other parts of Australia,” Dr McGrawl says.
What are some common cold and flu symptoms?
If you’ve had symptoms of colds or flu for a while, you can usually spot the symptoms by your skin or nose, according to Dr McGreed.
“They’re usually mild and you usually get a mild flu-like cough,” he explains.
The flu is often followed by a cold or sore throat, which can be worse if you have underlying health conditions.
“If you’re ill, you don’t want to get sick from colds,” Dr McGreed says.
A cold or a sore throat can also trigger an episode of flu-related vomiting, which also can be dangerous.
You might have flu-induced vomiting or fever, which in some cases can be life-threatening.
Other common symptoms include: weakness or weakness in the chest or abdomen