Monday, September 18, 2006


I took my feline companion Mr. Kirby Q-Tie to the vet today for his annual checkup. Prior to that his day had been going quite well.

He made cute little "Air! Air!" sounds when they weighed him and poked and prodded at him. Very cute and not the usual "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWW!!-she-starves-and-tortures-me-please-adopt-me" sounds he makes when he stands in front of the neighbor's door and begs for chicken.

When the vet asked about any problems, I mentioned his chronic rodent ulcers, which appear during allergy season and consist of sores that make the side of his mouth curl up so that he looks like, well, a rodent (see photo above).

I told them he'd had some sores a few weeks ago but they had gone away. The vet took a look and said,

"Yes, they seem to be going away."

Then he looked at Kirby's chart and said the sores seemed to be coming back and we should give him a shot of cortisone since we already had him there.

I was silent for a minute or two. I nearly went along with it. Why argue and get labeled a bad pet owner?

Instead I said,

"Didn't you just say the sores seem to be going away?"

Uh, yes. But this will make sure they don't come back.

"I'd rather wait and see. If they're going away I'd prefer not to keep shooting him up with stuff (especially stuff that costs around $40 a pop!)."

He backed off and said we could wait, and showed me the receding sores, and asked if I use plastic dishes (I don't) and said that there's an oral cortisone pill that's easier to control and that I could give him myself.

I felt like I'd nearly allowed myself to be played.

And by a vet no less.

It wasn't until later that I realized that I should have just requested the d*mn prescription and had it filled elsewhere.

Like, say, Canada.


  1. Everything is a profit center these days.

    Super pic of Kirby.

  2. Speaking of prescriptions>

    What Does Wal-Mart's Prescription Drug Plan Mean?

    Retailing giant Wal-Mart announced a new program that will offer consumers $4 prescriptions for generic drugs.

    Several commentators have already pooh poohed this as a mere publicity stunt in an election year.

    WalGreens and CVS and and other pharmacies have gotten shellacked on the news -- as well they should (Target was relatively unchanged, while Rite Aid has been a disaster for too long to remember). Wal-Mart crushed many of the inefficient or simply "less efficient" supermarkets when they moved into food retailing -- I would expect they could have a similar impact here.

    In addition to selling this as a retail loss leader, I wouldn't be suprised if Wal-Mart rolled out a targeted program for certain corporate health care providers -- think either GM or Ford. It would be nice if someohow GM or Ford could lop off a few $100 from the cost of manufacturing each vehicle.

    And given Wal-Mart's heft, this could very easily have a significant impact on the entire health care system in the United States.

    The program will be launched tomorrow starting in 65 stores (Wal-Mart, Neighborhood Market and Sam's Club pharmacies) in Tampa Bay, Florida; It will expand statewide area, and will be expanded to the entire state in January 2007, and expanded nationwide later in the year.

    Key components (via WMT's press release) include:

    • $4 pricing will be available to all pharmacy customers with a doctor's prescription that can be filled via generic.

    • This program will be available to the uninsured; Insurance will be accepted.

    • The program presently covers 291 generic medications from many of the most common therapeutic categories.

    • The medicines represented are used to treat and manage conditions including allergies, cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes; Some antibiotics, antidepressants, antipsychotics and prescription vitamins are also included.

    Fascinating stuff . . .