Monday, April 14, 2008

Co-payment for MS drugs going sky high

According to the New York Times article yesterday, insurance companies are no longer charging a flat co-pay of $10 or $20 for the expensive disease modifying drugs many MSers have come to rely on in order to reduce relapse rates and maintain some level of quality of life.

Instead, when they visit the pharmacy now, they may be hit hard in the pocketbook. Co-pays are now sky rocketing to 20-33 percent of the drug cost with a maximum charge of $325 per prescription. For the patient, this means hundreds of dollars just to maintain their health every month.

Read the article here.

I am terrified about what will happen when this Fingolimod trial ends and I no longer get my medication for free. I strongly believe that the medicine is the reason for this long period of remission that I am enjoying, and the health care system is putting a price on that for me. I know it will be out of my reach once it has gone to market and I am forced to pay for it.

Sadly, I guess I had better enjoy the rest of this year and the extension phase as being what will surely be the best years, health wise, of the rest of my life. After they require me to pay, I won't be able to afford remission from this awful disease.

Not only does this new Tier 4 pricing affect MS drugs, but drugs for many other expensive illnesses such as cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hepatitis and many others.

This past weekend I was cleaning out the top drawer of my dresser where I have long kept any and every pill I've been prescribed for MS symptoms. I also kept the info sheets that came with these meds, and I found a sheet on Copaxone from 1999. The price was on it. $896. The last time I got Copaxone was a month before starting this clinical trial in 2007. The price was $2700. It is inconceivable to me that this drug could have cost so much back in 1999 and to soar to nearly triple that cost in 8 short years is purely greed-driven evilness. To profit so blatantly from our suffering, and to dangle the promise of a drug that could help over our heads and just out of reach is nothing short of inhumane.

When the pharmaceutical executives become ill with MS or Hep C or cancer, will they THEN realize what suffering their evil greed has caused those less fortunate? Probably not, but I can't help myself...I want to see them suffer.

2 comments:

Suldog said...

Truly a shame. I wish I knew more about the subject, but surely the processing of the drug couldn't be as costly as all that, could it? It does seem to me that there should be a way to fix price to actual production cost.

Webster Groves Ward Book Club said...

I pay $467 a month for my Rebif. Fortunately there is a $2500 cap per year. That comes to about $200 a month. I hope that there will be a change in the cost of medication, but I don't know how to make it happen. This is the first time I've commented, but I want to say how much I enjoy reading your blog and that it gives me hope - both that a new more effective drug is coming, and that a woman can continue to have a wonderful sense of humor and take care of her family, even if she has this difficult disease.