Methadone on the rise

felix's picture

As from yesterday morning, I am now paying $38.50 per week for my methadone (brand:Biodone) dose. In one day it went from $28.50 per week to $38.50. We used to receive a discount for paying on a weekly basis, this has been deleted also. The explanation given was that the people receiving tablets (presumably bupe) could not receive the same discount, so it was not fair to them.
If there are any bupe users out there, perhaps they can explain this thinking?
Anyway, I am now paying $6 for every takeaway, and $5 for every in-store dose. Which adds up to $39 per week, so I think the $38.50 was just a mistake in week one. Last week it was $5 for takeaways and $4 for in-store, with a $3.50 discount.
I know that methadone is still alot cheaper than heroin, and that I used to be able to round up anywhere from $100 to $1000 each day to score, but the main point of methadone is to try to slide you back into a 'normal' lifestyle, where you don't round off the last two zeroes when talking about the value of anything as a matter of course.
Also, the government still provides the methdaone and biodone free of charge to the chemists, so what we pay is purely a dispensing fee.
I would imagine that with say, forty clients picking up each day, the pure profit of $1600 per week is a significant part of the average chemist store's income.
I would be interested to see what other people in other areas are paying for their maintenance programs. Another whole discussion would be the relative 'success' of these programs in 'curing' rather than 'maintaining', but that's for another day.


As to the bupe thing, pharmacists claim that the supervision needed takes more time than Done and time, of course, is money! Dunno how that fits in with those new suboxone 'strips' though, little supervision needed there!
I direct my Done 2 wks ahead (direct debit to avoid ALL problems)and pay $60 fortnight. Otherwise it is $5 a day. Friend M's chem charges $6 per day but still does $60 per fortnight if it's upfront, BUT then still charge for days not picked up from the pre-paid money!!
Maybe there's some tax dodge reason? Insurance fraud? Plain snobbishness trying to drive pharmacotherapy customers away?

Really it's inexcusable and we all know the service should be free. The stigma of being treated differently to other customers is bad enough, let alone no respect given for the amount of money they are milking us for! My chem now only allows max 3 clients in pharmacy at one time!(Dunno how we're supposed to recognize each other? just count the scumbags?!!?) Another has a sign saying all clients must walk straight down the center isle so they can be watched for shoplifting. If such things were aimed at ANY other group in Australia it would be legally-covered discrimination!!!

sayarsan's picture

I wonder what the comparative figures are for clients on methadone compared with clients on subutext and the rest, I should be looking them up but for now it's enough to know that methadone is not only rising in price but also in number of prescriptions. With the plethora of delivery systems for subutext/suboxone it's pretty certain that this is another growth area but this has no effect on the chemists' attitudes towards clients. I must admit that many shopkeepers might feel uncomfortable when one or two unkempt, ill fed, impoverished and obviously deviant people come into their shop so it isn't just chemists who are sometimes guilty of this but your friendly local pharmacist should know after a few weeks let alone a few years that the person is paying their bill, often in advance and is not likely to be any worse than any other 'odd' person who appears at the counter. What really is irritating is the dispensing pharmacist/shop keeper which takes every opportunity to extract money while talking about their boat on the phone while I wait unnecessarily only to get off the phone to serve a newcomer buying a supermarket item. Some chemists do very well out of their addicted customers especially when they are addicted to prescription sedatives, anxiolytics and/or anti-depressants as well which many are. Syringes add up as do our first aid requirements, antibiotics and toiletries. I even used to buy my toilet paper and laundry powder from a chemist who treated his customers well by giving some credit and being flexible with the bill (he was Chinese/Malay) but the ones I go to now i am even reluctant to buy aspirin from them. The vast majority it seems don't tolerate addicts well and readily adopt the prejudices which seems ridiculous to me, they are selling drugs after all.

sayarsan's picture

I was informed of a $1/day increase in my fee at the chemist i go to during the week taking my weekly bill Monday-Friday to $25. This is on top of the $5/day I pay on Saturday and Sunday which means the total comes to $35/week until the chemist I go to on the weekend puts his price up. Now I have to re-figure the price per mg for my tracker entries. The next step is trying to work out what prompted the increase other than the new year, another increase at the end of the financial year maybe on the cards knowing how the minds of shopkeepers work.