Not sure how to react to the drug companies....

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hspenser
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 544
   Posted 1/16/2008 7:57 AM (GMT -7)   
Obviously there are many people who are having great results with the semi-new drug HUMIRA.....this is a great thing.  We all know how tough this awful disease is and many times during and after a rough episode I think I could almost sell my soul to the devil just to have it stop.......
 
So I wonder if I have.....If by using the drug am I now part of the almost equally terrible system that is slowly tearing our healthcare system and economy apart....
 
The drug is super expensive....the local druggist has to charge between $700 and $800 per dose.....most insurance companies have raised the co-pays so if you buy it from the local drug store you could pay as much as $300 or $400 (if you even have insurance)  But...if you do the mail order through your insurance company the cost is only $50 or $100 for a 90 day supply...so lets see $300 a shot or $8 a shot....so I help put the local guy out of business by making the obvious choice and support the big faceless insurance company.  This is all supported by the drug company who gives greater discounts to the insurance companies because they approve use of the drugs.  Even the giant retail folks are feeling the hit.
 
Then...in the case of Humira (and other companies seem to be doing the same thing)  We see expensive ads on TV (for prescription drugs?????)...the company offers to pay our entire deductable...they help get the drug to those without insurance (a good thing except somebody evenually ends up paying for it)...they send you free sharps containers...travel kits.....videos....in-home healthcare support...all of this costing millions and millions just to market the drug.  Making us put pressure on the doctor to prescribe the drug to us...possibly keeping him/her from looking at other treatments or options.
 
All of this drives costs up more and more....insurances goes up...it all seems like a lot of smoke and mirrors that chips away at our healthcare system and economy....and I am a part of that....does anyone else see us as part of an out of control program...
dx IBS 1999   UC 2000   CD 2001
Tested BIOGEN TYSABRI (gave me 2 years of remission)
currently on Low Dose Netroxene (started Jan. 19, 2007)...against Dr's wishes, he was pushing for Remicade.  Stopped the Naltrexone July 28th...started Humira Aug 31st, 2007...current dose two shots every other week.
Crohns is currently active and has been since April of 2005
51 yrs old


mama2jmt
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 301
   Posted 1/16/2008 9:26 AM (GMT -7)   
hspenser,
I see where you are coming from,& I would have to say that I agree.
darned if you do,darned if you don't.....
I had to give up worrying about the big picture & just do what is best for me & my daughter.

I live in a very small mountain town & have seen so many local mom & pop type businesses go belly up because of corporate america.The small businesses have to increase thier prices to stay afloat,but don't always offer what you may need or at an affordable price,so locals around here tend to shop more at places like walmart.....one big vicious circle,in my opinion anyways!
~Jennifer~
Official Crohns DX-march 2004.Pentasa 4000mg,B12,Probiotics
         1 resection
Cardiomyopathy DX-may 2004.Coreg,Altace,Digitek,Lasix,Potassium,very low-sodium diet
          


FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 1/16/2008 9:42 AM (GMT -7)   
I also agree. First, when I lived in Mass. my dad's insurance Harvard Pilgrim required us to get all our rx's from CVS. I couldn't understand how that wasn't illegal. Wasn't that a monopoly/restraint of trade? I guess since my dad could have got other insurance or opted for no insurance it really isn't a "restraint" but I sure felt restrained. Then I realized that I liked the big chain better than the local pharmacist because I was able to get my medication and my file whether I was in NH at college in Mass w/ my parents, in GA with my boyfriend, or in Las Vegas with friends. Then I got put on Pentasa and ended up in Maine on my husbands insurance. I am in the same boat as you. Higher copay if I buy maintenence meds at CVS, way lower copay if I buy them mail order through Caremark. Now Caremark is owned by CVS. I was annoyed at being forced to do it. I hated the thought of my meds just sitting on my porch waiting for me to come home. At least it is rarely hot in Maine and my porch is covered from the snow. But then, guess what. Just like when I got forced to try CVS I ended up liking Caremark. I really don't miss going to the pharmacy, waiting in line with all the sick people, dealing with insurance issues, three times a month every month. Because heaven forbid my three medications need refilling at the same time. Now I order all three at once every three months over the phone and they show up on my door step. Do I feel like I am buying into the problem? yes. Do I enjoy the freedom and convenince? Yes. Am I going to pay more for my drugs because of my beliefs? NO!!! Am I going to stop taking the drugs? Heck No. So bahhhhhh I guess Im just a sheep lol.
26 Year old married female.  Diagnosed w/ CD 3 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD.  Currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day, hysociamine prn, nexium, and ortho evra.  Good times!!!
 
 


ginger71
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 722
   Posted 1/16/2008 10:25 AM (GMT -7)   
I don't see the sense in denying your own good health for the greater good,so to speak, as being an effective means of protest.
Anything we take to get us better is a product of the drug companies(excluding hoeopathic remedies).
It is an admirable thought but just not a black and white issue.
36 year old female. Dx'd and undx'd a few times. Was just redx'd again 04/2007.
History of rectal abscesses and fistulas (28 surgeries including abscess I & D, exploratory surgeries, 2 C-ton drains and 1 fistula plug) Count does not include self bursting abscesses.
1st Remicade infusion 6/5/07.  Lots of joint pain, and a new fistula since the 2nd infusion 6/19.
Praying I'll get better soon so we can have a baby.
Ginger :)


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 1/16/2008 12:58 PM (GMT -7)   

I appreciate your feelings but I agree, we are talking about a very serious illness and if you need your medications you will have to get them and take care of you.  No one is going to think any less of you and you have no other options.  Try not to feel guilty for doing the right thing in buying your drugs. You need them.

Gentle Hugs


 
Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety ~ Panic  ~ Crohn's
*~* http://www.healingwell.com/donate *~*
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~
 


mcleaver1969
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 267
   Posted 1/16/2008 1:47 PM (GMT -7)   
hspencer,
I could not agree with you more about this issue, drug companies are out of control with the price of their meds, they can be because they know that patients need their meds, and they work with the insurance companies to make sure we pay for them. So kudos to you for voicing your aggrevation.
Having said that, Humira is the only Rx that is working for me so I have to keep using it...luckily my co-pay is $50, I know it could be way higher. I have to keep using this medicine, I know that I am contributing to the problem but I'm between a rock and a hard place.
Can I just tell everyone reading this to please, please, please vote in this years elections, research the candidates and their platforms and vote for whomever you think will fight for the issues you are most concerned about.
VOTE, VOTE, VOTE-MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!
Take care to everyone!
Marci, 38 years young, Rockledge, FL
Dx with Crohn's disease March 2006
Currently on bi-weekly Humira, daily 6mg Entocort, daily 2-3x 5mg hydrocodone (for pain), and daily 75mg Effexor,
plus 3x per day heavy iron supplements for anemia,
calcium supplement, daily multi-vitamin,
Lasix as needed for ankle/feet swelling
Self-proclaimed "recluse"  do to CD  ;)


Illini
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 298
   Posted 1/16/2008 2:29 PM (GMT -7)   
In the defense of drug companies, there are a few things to keep in mind here.

One is that bringing a drug to market takes a decade or more and costs about a billion dollars. And for every success that reaches patients, drug companies still have to pay their army of scientists and clinicians for the work they have done on many hundreds, if not thousands, of other failed drugs.

Another is that many new treatments are engineered antibodies. They are produced by culturing living cells and must be purified from the cells in a process that is far more complicated, and costly, than the chemical reactions used to make things like aspirin, tylenol, etc. Again, since living cells are used in production, there is also much more costly quality control since cell lines are susceptible to viral and bacterial contamination.

Finally, a drug company must recoup its cost--and make a profit to appease shareholders and pay for research into new drugs--by selling the drug. The company is $1 billion in the hole to make the drug and pays the high cost of producing the drug. Ultimately somebody has to pay, there is no way to get around this, and the drug company needs to get the money on a tight schedule--within 20 years (generics appear) or faster if they anticipate a competing product will be out soon. Although Crohn's/UC are prevalent, but still not common, here and in Europe they are rare elsewhere, meaning the world market is fairly small. So a smaller number of patients must cover the cost, making it even more expensive.

The skyrocketing cost of drugs is at least partly caused by the skyrocketing cost of bringing drugs to market, and that is outside of the drug company's control. But I would like to see the big pharma companies get rid of multimillion dollar salaries for their executives, find a better way to communicate with docs than traveling representatives (seems inefficient), tone down the direct advertising, and considering how many people don't have insurance (or enough insurance) a patient assistance program should not be "optional."

CrohnieToo
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 9448
   Posted 1/16/2008 6:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Keep in mind that until about 1987 the FDA restricted drug advertising. They lifted most of those restrictions then and voila, script drug medication commercials on TV. Any idea what national TV advertising runs? A research study w/in the last 3 years or so established that drug companies now spend MORE on advertising than on research and development. The US government spends a LESSER percentage of its budget on medical research than other countries such as England, France, Germany, etc. There haven't been any truly independent nutritional studies since 1948, its all funded by big business.
Some people are like Slinkies... Not really good for anything, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.


FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 1/16/2008 8:10 PM (GMT -7)   
And then insurance companies don't want to pay for the drugs that were advertised on TV b/c they think that patients just went in and asked their doctors for it. It hurts those of us that have doctors that recommended a medication and that medication is the only one that works. Nexium is a great example. Anytime I switch insurance companies my doc has to write a letter that all the other acid blockers failed for me. Then they will pay for it. I am sure if it wasn't advertised on TV and every Joe Schmo getting a script for it before they even try Zantac, then the insurance company wouldn't make me try 5 other drugs before paying for the one my DOCTOR prescribed.
26 Year old married female.  Diagnosed w/ CD 3 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD.  Currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day, hysociamine prn, nexium, and ortho evra.  Good times!!!
 
 


hspenser
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 544
   Posted 1/16/2008 8:37 PM (GMT -7)   
CONFUSED:  I hear you, but I can't fall that excuse any longer...
Crohnie brings up the very reason your words may fall on deaf ears...The drug companies spend billions advertising a drug to regular citizens even when prescriptions are required...the ads in the mags and on TV add up to BILLIONS...with a B...BILLIONS...they spend billions more on marketing to the doctors...imagine the lower costs if they simply sold the drugs to the doctors and did so without the lunches, trips and expensive gifts.  Humira is a prime example of overspending....we can assume that everything has a cost...so attached to Humira we are all paying for the CD's, house calls by nurses, the travel kits, the e-mail and phone reminders to take the drug....the sharps containers...the note pads...and now they even pay your co-pay for you.  And where do they make the big dollars...from medicaid...they charge the federal government the full charge. 
I agree that it takes millions and billions to bring a drug to market...but if look a little closer you will find that most of the controls put into play by our FDA are approved by the drug companies that sit on the various boards and committees...they do this to keep the small companies out of the game.
 
To everyone else...I am not suggesting that we don't take the drugs we need...but we do need to bring these types of things to the attention of our elected officials...we need not be quiet and we also don't have to take advantage of it all....
dx IBS 1999   UC 2000   CD 2001
Tested BIOGEN TYSABRI (gave me 2 years of remission)
currently on Low Dose Netroxene (started Jan. 19, 2007)...against Dr's wishes, he was pushing for Remicade.  Stopped the Naltrexone July 28th...started Humira Aug 31st, 2007...current dose two shots every other week.
Crohns is currently active and has been since April of 2005
51 yrs old

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