I remember as a child watching a wonderful movie called “Animals are Beautiful People.” The movie is about the different animals living in Africa and how much they are like human beings. In one scene, a native shows the technique for catching monkeys. They would catch monkeys, not for food, but for water. The monkeys knew where the water was so the African would give the monkey salt. After getting very thirsty from licking the block of salt, it would lead the native to the water source. The interesting part is how the monkeys are caught.

First, the native would make sure a curious monkey is watching him. He then would but some nuts, berries, or other food into a hollowed out log or rock. After a while, curiosity gets the best of the little monkey and he just has to know what is in that hole. The opening is just large enough for the monkey to put his hand in. When the monkey grabs what is inside, his fist is too big to pull it out of the hole. He’s just too stubborn to let go of his prize and pull his hand out. The native can simply walk over and tie the monkey to a tree.

The reason I relay this story to you is to demonstrate how these big drug companies capture you. They lure you in with slick direct to consumer advertising. I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials on television. Everyone seems to be so happy after taking this little pill. They can suddenly ride bicycles, climb mountains, fish, hike, laugh, play, and have a beautiful relationship with their spouse. So now your curiosity is aroused and you want to see what this medication is all about. In a recent study, 75% of patients who asked their doctor for a particular name brand drug, regardless of their condition, got it. Drug companies advertise to you because it works.

Once you think that this pill is going to be the answer to your dreams, they have you. You just can’t wait to try this pill that is going to make your life wonderful. They know that you cannot just open your hand and let go, just like the monkey.

Remember when Claritin first came out several years ago? The manufacturer spent millions of dollars advertising the new drug. It was the first non-sedating anti-histamine. Suddenly, people without allergies were asking their doctor for Claritin. Not because they needed it, but because they saw the commercial. When Prilosec was introduced to the market, it took the subject of heartburn to the front page. For years, the old standby drugs worked just fine (and they still do). Then this new medication became available and everyone wanted it. Next time you see one of these commercials, pay attention to the people in the advertisement. For Paxil, a woman can’t face the social gathering outside until she popped her pill, then she is the life of the party. After taking Levitra, a man can suddenly throw a football through a tire. Hidden meaning? Maybe. (You can get Claritin free at http://www.claritin.com, free Prilosec OTC at http://www.prilosecotc.com, and free Levitra at http://www.levitra.com)

According to Forbes magazine, the most expensive diseases are:

Heart Conditions at $68 billion

Cancer at $48 billion

Mental Illness at $48 billion

Respiratory ailments at $45 billion

Hypertension at $32.5 billion

Arthritis and joint disorders at $32 billion

Diabetes at $28 billion

Back problems at $23 billion

The average out of pocket expense for prescriptions is now over $250 a month. This is how much money the average person has to pay, with or without insurance, every month at the pharmacy. That comes to over $3000 a year spent on prescription drugs for the average person. I don’t want to be average; and I am definitely not average.

Recent history tells us that prescription prices are going up anywhere from 8% to 15% per year. What if we used 10%? So next year, the average will be $3300; two years from now, $3630. At this rate, in ten years, you will be spending over $6400 a year, $533 per month. In twenty years, at this rate, $17,000 a year. In thirty years, almost $48,000 a year, $4000 per month! This is average.

Add all this up and it comes to almost $550,000 spent on your prescription. This is IF the increase stays at 10%. Remember, the range has been from 8% to 15%. Changing the rate to 15% increases the amount spent to $1.47 million! WOW!

What if you could save just 10% of the cost of your prescriptions? Can you think of something else to do with roughly $100,000? I know I could.

Now is the time to be one of the few people who educate themselves about their medication. This will allow you to talk with your doctor about less expensive alternates. Using generics can save you 90%. Cutting your tablets will save you up to 50%. Using certain “hidden” rebated have the potential to save you hundreds per year, they are right there for the asking.

It is said that knowledge is power. In this case, lack of knowledge is expensive.

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