Leeches still widely used to treat patients in Russia

Mounting hospital bills can really suck and, apparently, so can the cure for those ailments!

Leeches are a cheap answer to expensive prescription drugs and medical treatments in Russia.

About 10 million of the slimy creatures are prescribed every year in Russian medicine, in many cases as a less expensive substitute for blood thinners like warfarin, according to a report from the New York Times.

Why leeches? Well, follow the money or rubles.

Russia's economy isn't too hot right now thanks to low oil prices, sanctions and military spending.

That means their medical system has also taken a hit.

However, leeches cost less than $1 over there and they're not yanked out of rivers.

They're raised by doctors in white lab coats, meaning there will always be a steady supply.

The idea may be disgusting, but doctors are applying leeches in the U.S., too.

Only about 6,000 a year, according to BioTherapeutics Research & Education Foundation.

But they're $15.50 a pop over here, compared to 90 cents in the Soviet Union.

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