Outrageous Anti-Venom Expense Strikes Again With $43K Bill To Treat Rattlesnake Bite

Earlier this fall we were astonished to hear about a woman getting an $83,000 bill to treat a scorpion sting at the ER, but it seems that outrageous price for anti-venom comes into play for rattlesnake bites as well. The father of a 17-year-old boy who was bitten twice by a rattlesnake in Colorado says he received a bill for about $43,000 for the six hours in the Emergency Room that followed. Most of that expense went toward — you guessed it — anti-venom.

The boy’s father, a veterinarian, was shocked to get the bill, telling CBS Denver: “Well first I thought maybe I’m in the wrong profession.”

He’s calling the bill outlandish, especially the $34,025.88 price for the six vials of anti-venom included in his son’s treatment. See, that same substance sells wholesale for the equivalent of about $1,000 to $2,000 a vial. Quite a markup.

“If they are a private company I wish I had stock in them because they are making a good profit margin,” he joked.

A spokeswoman for the emergency facility that treated the boy says it’s all about where he was treated, not what was used.

“Unlike a physician’s office or urgent care, emergency departments have all appropriate diagnostic resources available 24/7/365, which contributes to the cost of care,” she said, without remarking on this specific case.

Yes, paying for services rendered, especially life-saving efforts by the medical facility’s emergency staff, is to be expecting. But hiking up the price of anti-venom just seems like a scheme to make additional profit.

Any anti-venom experts out there who could shed more light on why the stuff gets marked up to such astronomical heights, feel free to weigh in with an email to tips@consumerist.com.

Centennial Man Calls $7,000 Per Hour E.R. Bill ‘Outlandish’ [CBS Denver]