Monday, January 26, 2009

Costco for Generic Medications?

One of my students asked if this popularly circulating e-mail would be suitable for use in a Math 25 portfolio.

Snopes: Generic Drugs

For the Article Report part of the portfolio this is a great "news article". The table with percent markup contains math relevant to Activity 11B . Is the markup in the table markup calculated as on sale price or markup on cost? Are the percentages correct? How is this table misleading? (The Snopes commentary helps answer this last question.)

As a theme for the Project part of the portfolio a real life "problem" is needed since plain lists of compared prices do not make a very interesting project even if they do use a lot of math. Why not invent a handful of hypothetical elderly people each with one or two different common health issues among the elderly and find the cost of their medications at Costco and second pharmacy? This page describes many health issues common among the elderly, and with a little bit of reading a student could identify many whose treatment includes medication. (For example, high blood pressure, more severe heart issues, insomnia, glaucoma, arthritis, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and depression.)

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