Everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it — Philippine Cost of Living.
I visited the US last September/October and wrote a couple articles about how far out of touch I had become with US prices. You might enjoy Got a Rude Awakening Today or Still Keeping Me Rudely Awake if you haven’t seen them.
A week or so ago I went to my endocrinologist for a routine check on my blood sugar and thyroid function. She’s a great doc, really knows her stuff (by the way the cost of an office visit to a board-certified specialist at my local hospital, P300 or about $6.41).
More Rude Awakening
As the doc and I were chatting I mention my shocking experience in Florida, paying more than 5 time s as much than I pay here in the Philippine for my daily blood pressure control medication. After she heard my story, she related one even better than mine.
Turns out my doc has a sister in the USA, also a doctor, who works for a major drug wholesaler in New Your. In other words a company who buys in huge quantities from the major manufacturers and resells the drugs to retailers, like Walgreens or CVS.
Even Filipinos Seem To Think the US Is Cheaper
But it just ain’t necessarily so. My doctor uses a certain maintenance medication herself. She, like many Filipinos believed it was very expensive here, especially because it’s manufactured by a US company and, of course, has to be imported to the Philippines.
Since my doctor was getting ready to make a trip to the USA, she asked her sister to look into getting her as large a legal quantity of that prescription drug so she could buy it in the USA and bring it back home with her. The med in question costs, retail, about $0.94 cents per day here in the Philippines.
The Sister Was As Shocked As I Was
The doctor’s sister immediately wrote back and said, “Oh my goodness, can you buy a suitcase full of that product there in the Philippines? Our wholesale price for that drug here is $10.00 a dose”. Wow!
Why This Huge Cost Imbalance?
Well I’m no economic genius, and there’s no way I can say for sure. But here’s what I suspect. The USA has now allowed themselves to be backed into a terrible place by the all powerful insurance companies there. Virtually no one in the US seems to pay their own way for medications.
Medicare art D, Medicaid and all the commercial insurance block spends billions, contributing to every political candidate on both parties in oder to curry favor and guarantee support for every bill which raises costs to government programs.
But you, the Americans, still struggling back there in the home country, are the ones who pay for this blatant rape of the American people by these insanely powerful insurance lobbying groups.
I Am SO glad I moved to the Philippines to partially escape this disgrace.
Let’s Get Off Medication For a While
My sister-in-law just had an electrical problem repaired in her home. It was a pretty extensive repair, some ceilings taken down, quite a bit of wring replaced with the new wire encased in conduit, and at least six circuit breakers replaced.
Many in the family are pretty incensed at the cost. I think the final figure is going to come out at about $250 USD. That’s a big hit.
But I know a lot about wiring and what electricians charge in the USA. This work would easily run $2500 USD in the USA.
Just as with my doctor’s drug example, approximately a 10 to one cost advantage for the Philippines.
Here in the Philippines termites can be a big, big problem. Before Mita and I rebuilt and enlarged our home here we had a significant amount of termite (Anay) damage.
We took a number of preventative measures during the construction phase of the new home to eliminate any future damage.
We also pay once a year for a comprehensive termite and other insect pests treatment.
We just had this year’s treatment (no evidence of the nasty little rascals showed up yet, thank goodness).
Our annual costs? P4000, or about $85.00 USD.
Mita did some research on termite treatment costs in the USA, taking into account the level of thoroughness in our treatment — injecting insecticide into pipes we placed under the house when it was built, taking the drawers out of kitchen and bathroom cabinets, injecting treatment into all door frames, and hundreds of feet of baseboards as example.
The best prices she could find on line for treatment of this size and thoroughness was approximately $2,000 USD. Wow! Again a huge cost advantage to living here in the Philippines.
Gas Prices in the Philippines
I can’t close this article out without mentioning gasoline and diesel prices. Here the results of my own survey taken just yesterday.
Regular Unleaded gas : $2.83 per US gallon
Diesel: $1.69 per US gallon
This is always a frequent question from Americans. And it may well be that the services are higher than what you might be paying in your home area. Obviously the Philippines is not always cheaper for everything.
But one thing to consider is this … gas prices are way, way less important here in the Philippines than back there in the USA.
Even if you HAVE a car here (by no means a necessity, public transportation is so cheap and accessible), you will need to drive so much less than you’d normally drive in the USA, so whatever the gas prices are here they will have a lot less effect on your budget than they do in the USA.
So that’s what I have to say today about the Philippine Cost of Living.