Doctors' Dilemma: Should you prescribe unfunded medication to a poor patient?

When your patient wants, but cannot afford, a certain treatment, what is the best way to handle the situation?

The dilemma: Dorothy is a 52-year-old woman with type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension and mild depression. She has had shingles in the past and is keen to have the shingles vaccine. However, she cannot afford the $200 cost.

Piggy bank

What can a doctor do?

The considerations

This is a problem about providing an unfunded medication to a patient. This problem may rear its head in many clinical guises, especially as patients now have increasingly easy access to information.