Ripped off and pissed! Embarrassed! Guilty! Ashamed! Trapped! Taken advantage of! Scared! These are some of the emotions I’m dealing with tonight! Let me explain. My Parkinson’s is getting worse rapidly. I “freeze” meaning that my legs won’t obey my brain’s command. It’s like I’m cemented to the floor. It lasts a variable amount of time and can be embarrassing. Imagine you have to go to the bathroom (really bad) and you freeze half the way there. Oops!
Now imagine that there is a new formulation of a very old medication that can help. Rather than swallow a pill, you inhale its contents; and, within 10-20 minutes, the freezing goes away (for 2-3 hours). What would you be willing to pay for it? Would you believe that my copay for this new formulation of an old compound is $1240.00 dollars for 60 capsules. Yep, $1240 for less than 1 month of medication. Now you understand why I feel ripped off!
Let’s talk about the other emotions:
- Embarrassed – I was a paid consultant to Pharma for many years. I sat on several national physician/Pharma boards and fought for lower prices for meds, less TV advertising, and better access to medications for those who couldn’t pay for it. I’m embarrassed to say I accomplished nothing and may have actually added to the cost of pharmaceuticals (they paid us well).
- Guilty- Yep, I was paid well. Afterall, my opinions were valuable. I thought Pharma were the good guys and was proud to work with them. In time, I learned how wrong I was. They are in the business of making a profit and they are very good at it! Unfortunately, there are no limits to the amount they can charge; and the sick and elderly either pay or die.
- Ashamed – I should have realized who I was dealing with earlier. I gave out a lot of samples and those samples led to the prescribing of “brand named” products at inflated prices. Samples cost society a lot of money! Generics save money. They also don’t advertise, don’t hire physician consultants and don’t have a fleet of sales reps pushing their products.
- Trapped – I either pay $1200 plus or wet myself. By the way, adult diapers are expensive as well. Yes, the company that makes my new medication offers discount coupons. Did you know that Medicare does not allow seniors (covered by Medicare) to use any discount programs? Yep, you heard me right. When your government talks about controlling the cost of medications, I laugh. Not only have they failed to control Pharma, but they’ve guaranteed that retired elders have to pay the full, inflated cost of their medications. By doing so, they have guaranteed that Pharma will thrive for many years to come.
- Taken advantage of – I think this emotion is self-explanatory. Why hasn’t Congress done something about the price gouging policies of Pharma? Pharma is one of the largest contributors to political campaigns; and, rather than count on drug reps to sell their goods, they fund lobbyists!
- Scared – Do the math. The cost of living with Parkinson’s just went up between $14,880 to $30,000 a year for just one of my many medications. Diapers are not that expensive after all!
Anyone want to bet on Biden tackling Pharma? If so, let me know. I could use the money.
Here’s your joke for the day:
There was an old guy who took suppositories as a medication daily. One day he went to a restaurant with his wife, she said, “What is a suppository doing in your ear.” The old man says, “OH! Now I know where my hearing aids are!”