SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Support Your Locally-Owned Businesses
By Mark O'Brien


August 23, 2006


I recently underwent that medical procedure every guy dreads, a colonoscopy. Somehow, I've avoided this chance to peer up my innards for 55 years. In this day of information gathering and technology advances, one can only guess why I was reluctant to have this done earlier. My message to everybody is to, as the slogan puts it, "Git 'er done". The doctor found a cantankerous tumor and now, like many of our local friends, I am out of town undergoing chemo/radiation treatments. Had this procedure been performed some years sooner, my summer may have ended differently. But there was a positive experience in this that I would like to share with SitNews readers.

Last Friday I was given a prescription to fill and directed to start taking these pills on a set date. Well, that seemed fairly easy. I walked into a suburban grocery store with a pharmacy. Here is a condensed version of what transpired:

Mr. O Brien, could you come to the pharmacy window, please?

Yes, that would be me.

These meds are going to be expensive.

Yes, I had prepared myself for that. How much do I owe you after co-pay?

Well, the 15 tabs of Zofran will be $572.74, and the Xeloda will be $1,744.70. Mr. O Brien, are you alright?"

"Clean up on the back aisle in front of the pharmacy window."

We all had a good laugh, I thanked them for cheering me up, suggested that they keep their product and left the store. After many phone calls to providers, case managers, doctors and nurses I was still looking at the prospect of paying $2300, out-of-pocket, right there in the grocery store. But, wait!

I am from Ketchikan and have been doing business with a local pharmacist. I dialed "1" and called Island Pharmacy, told them my plight, and was quickly assured that they would see what they could do. In less than a few minutes my nurse from Swedish had placed the order with the friendly folks at Island Pharmacy. They mailed the meds to me via Express mail, and proceeded to bill my insurance provider. What a relief to have this level of service after banging my head against the many walls of unfamiliar faces and corporate policies.

This is just one more reason why we need to support locally owned businesses. Not only do they keep our community strong, but they might also be able to reach out and give you a kind, compassionate bending of the rules when you need it the most. Thanks, Barry.


Mark O'Brien
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: "I have lived in Ketchikan since 1993 and now tell everybody to get that colonoscopy sooner than later."


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