Charge for one injection of rabies immune globulin was $46,422 after cat bites woman

This is the extraordinary story of a single injection of rabies immune globulin costing $46,422. In fact the total bill for this woman who was bitten by a feral cat in Miami-Dade County, Florida was $48,512. Her insurance paid $44,320.90 so her direct payment to the hospital for the treatment was $4191.10. Her funeral would have been cheaper she said!

Hospital invoice for rabies shot
Hospital invoice for rabies shot
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The lady concerned is Jeanette Parker. She is a biologist and she was in a rural area outside Florida’s Everglades National Park at the time she spotted a feral cat wandering down the road. She took pity on the cat because she looked skinny and sick and offered some tuna and in return the cat bit her on the finger. The bite broke the skin. She cleaned the wound.

She was aware that rabies was a worry in the area and therefore sought medical attention. She ended up at Mariners Hospital which was not too far from her home and spent two hours in the emergency room. She received two injections and an antibiotic.

She never saw a doctor and went home content. She received the bill later which is itemised above. Most of the bill is made up with the cost of the single injection of rabies immune globulin. The question mark is over that cost. Apparently it normally costs $3000.

The hospital, since treating Parker, has reduced the price to $9900. It is still a very high figure but a lot less than the charge suffered by Jeanette Parker.

Jeanette Parker
Jeanette Parker. Photo: Angel Valentín for KHN.

The wholesale price of this particular product is $361.26 per millilitre. The rest is markup. On that basis the cost of the 12 mL dose that Parker received would have been $4335. The hospital confirmed that their charges were correct at the time. They obviously impose a very high markup to the wholesale cost.

It appears that the insurer decided that the charges although high were not fraudulent. I would argue that the reason why the charges were that high is because most of the bill is paid by an insurer. The insurer wouldn’t be too bothered because they simply hike up the insurance premiums.

It is said that the rabies immune globulin injection is a complex product made from blood plasma donated by volunteers who have been immunised against rabies. It is manufactured by three businesses. There are no shortages.

Source: National Public Radio Inc.

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8 thoughts on “Charge for one injection of rabies immune globulin was $46,422 after cat bites woman”

  1. I know how the bean counters for medical services are actually the most rabid. No one seems to have any reservation or concern to keep costs down when the insurance companies, as you say, simply hike up the premiums. I’ve seen outrageous charges for services provided to me too. In this ladies’ case I would have welcomed the opportunity to know ahead of time what they would charge so I could refuse treatment. That seems to be the only way now to counter run-away escalation and capriciously inflated fees. If I’d agreed to those kind of charges every time I was bitten or scratched by a random cat or animal I’d have died from exposure and starvation long ago. I don’t recommend avoiding treatment but it’s the truth. The alternative is when a vet shoves her fingers down a cat’s throat, getting a finger pricked and condemning the poor cat to being killed and inspected for rabies simply because we didn’t know if the cat had been vaccinated. Been there too and that’s even more egregious.

    • Totally agree with you. In the UK some drug companies charge the NHS thousands of £s for a box of pills that previously cost a few quid. Complete ripoff. I hate drug companies. And insurance companies! 🙂 God I am in trouble.

    • Albert, just so you know, Jane Carter deliberately created a dispute (you may remember it) to make an excuse to stop commenting. She just walked away. She did not have the guts to say she no longer wished to comment and contribute. I am perfectly okay with anyone telling me they don’t want to comment but to engineer a dispute is silly.


        You are banned Jane. You said to me in a telephone call that you are a nightmare to deal with. I can confirm that that is indeed true. Don’t bother commenting again. Your comments will be not be read and deleted.


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