Thousand Dollar Ointment (No, it’s not from Sephora)

By David Rosenfeld
Executive Director

Lately, it has seemed like everyone I know has a story about an irrational hospital bill. Here’s one from my friend, Dave.

Dave’s wife cut her finger. It was a deep cut. They thought it might need stitches. They went to their local hospital, Providence. She didn’t need stitches, but she did need a little bit more than a band-aid. The hospital put a couple of dabs of a skin glue called Indermil. She also got a tetanus shot. 

Later, Dave asked the hospital for an explanation of charges, pasted below. The tube of skin glue is listed for: $1,084.43.

I went online to see how much I could buy it for. Turns out I can buy a 12-pack of this stuff for $480.48, or $40.04 per tube. That’s a 2,600% markup. Link is here, screen shot below. 

If I didn’t know better, I’d have dismissed this as simply a mistake. But examples like these abound. Suffice it to say, my friend is contesting the charges. 


Dave's wife's hospital bill

Screen shot of skin glue price online

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