By William

(‘Lenny & Me’ refers to myself and my constant companion – chronic illness and disabilities with the lungs in severe asthma/COPD. ‘Lenny’ is a name I gave my chronic illness because giving it a name I find it easier to deal with.)

            For many years I have been one of those who has taken the constant punch in the gut of being forced to pay what most see as outrageously high prices for many life saving meds or just meds in general.

            Yet even this week I found a situation that still blew my mind with what I call the Big Pharma Insanity.

            Most folks who know me or follow my writings, understand that I have sometimes daily battles with severe Asthma, COPD, and a heart issue as well as psychological things like anxiety and panic attacks.

            Nearly every day of life for me begins sitting in a chair having a 10–15-minute visit with my nebulizer machine to help clear out my lungs for the day ahead.

            Over the past couple of years, I have alternated between two types of meds for my nebulizer, one being an ‘Ipratropium’ and the other being ‘Levalbuterol’. Normally a visit with one of these meds will get my lungs cleared out for the day ahead and I am then good to go.

            I recently needed to renew my prescription for the ‘Levalbuterol’, and everything went as planned with my wife picking it up at the local Wal-Mart Pharmacy.

            Now it did take me several days to grab the first box of vials, but immediately I noticed something was different.

            Instead of each little bag having like five sets of five vials together, these boxes had each single vial packaged separately. I already knew something was not right.

            So, I grabbed a single vial package and ripping the packing open I notice immediately that the vial is not the same as the liquid in it was concentrated in one tip of the vial, unlike the normal vial where more liquid was visible and within the entire vial.

            I realized immediately that these vials were going to have to be mixed with something like a sterile solution.

            (Here is a pic – top vial is one I was given; bottom vial was my normal prescription)

            Needless to say, as soon as the clock hit 9:00 a.m., I was on the phone to the pharmacy to find out what happened.

            I explained to the pharmacist on duty what I received and how it was not the normal prescription of ‘Levalbuterol’ I normally get, plus what the hell did they mean by ‘saline solution’ to mix it with?

            The young pharmacist (not my regular guy who was on vacation), looked up my records and agreed that something looked out of sync, and he would check into it and get back to me.

            After about an hour he called me back and I was told they put together an order of the normal vials for me to pickup when I had time.

            After telling the pharmacist that I would return the unopened boxes, unopened package vials when I did, I was immediately stopped and told no, that I was needing to just throw them all out.

            Now I was sitting there looking at vials enough for 49 more uses (minus the one I had already opened), none having had human touch on them, and I assured the guy that I was not going to mess with them.

            But nope, he insisted that I just throw them out and that was the rules of the pharmacy and the drug pharmacy folks.

            Before I agreed to do so, I made sure I let him know I thought it was absolutely ridiculous and a total waste of packaging, plastic (the vials are plastic) and of course money.

            One question I did not ask him as I knew it would irritate me if I knew, what happens to the cost of the unused prescription fill?

            Now I am on disability Medicare/social security and lucky for me my program coverage meant there was no cost to me, but according to the paperwork give with the unusable vials – the total cost to somebody (Medicare) was in the neighborhood of a bit over $900!!

            This is not the first time I have been given a wrong prescription and had to throw something away because they could not take it back, but those I understood due to the item being in pill form and I had already handled them. But this stuff was expensive and in a package form.

            Now for a moment it did occur to me that I could maybe find someone who could use the ‘Levalbuterol’ as part of their medical care, but I also knew that would be illegal.

            Maybe I should not care due to it not being my fault, but in a world of massive waste and environmental issues, this whole idea of throwing out nearly 50 unused, unopened plastic vials of ‘Levalbuterol’ just pissed me off for the insanity that it seemed to be.

            There are so many things in our lives that we can, could and should repurpose before clogging up the waste dump systems with it, that this just seemed to be another miscellaneous lack of effort by Big Pharma/Big Business to turn the other way.

            I have no doubts that these 49 little vials could have and should have been able to find a new home where they would be used properly for the betterment of someone else with lung issues.

            This experience also solidified my opinion that Big Pharma is wasting more money that necessary and charging those of us here in the United States unkindly dollars for precious meds that keep so many alive and moving forward as to compared in other countries.

            Why is this – because Big Pharma has too many politicians (and I am talking on all sides of the political party spectrum) in their back pocket which is why even Medicare is unable to truly negotiate for better drug prices.

            Okay, for one of the few times in my life I am using this platform of ‘Lenny and I for Today’ to rant, but since I spend or have Medicare spend an enormous amount of funds on prescriptions drugs, then I should once in awhile get pissed even though I can do nothing about it.

            By the way, I haven’t even discussed the outrageous amount it cost Medicare for my bi-weekly Xolair shots.

            And that folks is where ‘Lenny and I’ are to today.

            A REMINDER – Do you have any comments or questions about my postings, then feel free to leave a comment on either at this blog, at the email address of or on Facebook at

ALWAYS REMEMBER (because I have COPD and severe Asthma) – If you or anyone you know have any symptoms involving lung and breathing functionality, and they linger over and over while disrupting a lifestyle – then please ask questions and get it checked out.

            With that, I bid to all – smiles, prayers, blessings, and steady breathing – Mr. William.

(Copyright@2022, CrossDove Writers through – no part of this write may be used or copied without written permission.)

NOTES & DISCLAIMER: Sometimes we share what may seem like medical information, but we are only giving descriptions and highlights of various aspects of having COPD and/or Asthma and no way do we ever want our information to be considered medical treatment type of information, always consult your physician for more, clearer medical founded information.