Posts Tagged With: Medicine

My $7.50

750

Who concerns themselves with $7.50? I found that I do. To my own detriment, I refused to give $7.50 for medication I need. That’s right, my Multiple Sclerosis medication co-pay was $7.50 and I refused the medication!

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis over 16 years ago. I have gone through many Tecfidera 1different forms of treatment that have included daily injections, one week IV infusions and most recently a twice daily pill. Simply take 1 in the morning and 1 at night. Simple, right? Well… money and my hatred of pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies have combined to even complicate taking medication daily. The medicine I am talking about is Tecfidera. The insurance company is Humana. If you had asked me a few months ago, I would have sang their praises.

What changed? Well, Tecfidera costs OVER $6,500 for a 30 day supply.Yeah… take that in. When my doctor suggested I start taking Tecfidera, I said, “It depends on what it costs Printme!” I said I would agree and start taking it if my insurance paid for it. Behind the scenes, Humana Specialty Pharmacy worked something out and I was able to start taking the medicine. Now keep in mind, this is only one of MANY meds I take to help treat my MS and symptoms. Each month I would get a call to remind me to refill the prescription and it would be sent to me. The call ended with a “and your co-pay will be $0”. This went on for months.

The call at the end of July for my August refill ended with, “Your co-pay will be $7.50.” The representative was assuredly surprised when I exclaimed “WHAT?” The rep remained polite and explained my assistance program had expired. I asked how to get it restarted. I was transferred and was told by this new rep that they would see if funds were available. It did not take long and I was told there was no funding available. I said, “Oh, I guess that is my indicator to stop this med.” She seemed surprised. I replied telling her the pill costs over $6,500 per month and somehow no funds were available to help me?

Did I have $7.50? Yes. But, the idea or principle of the matter for me is that – my $7.50 does not matter. Humana or Biogen, one or both should be making PLENTY of money on a $6,500 a month drug. Getting $7.50 out of my broke ass just seemed to paying for someone’s Starbucks. I just imagined whoever in the chain came up with my co-pay being $7.50 said, “I will be able to get me a Starbucks off Thomas each month.” Well, at my health’s expense, I refuse to buy someone charging over $6,500 a month for medicine a Starbucks. What “funding” or assistance program no longer had $7.50? It did not matter to me.

My protest over my $7.50 co-pay hurts no one but me, but I feel a satisfaction that Humana and Biogen are no longer getting their money either. If I remember right, the meds were $6,594.38 each month. The meds price had been increasing each month it seemed and at $6,594.38 I was fed up. It is RIDICULOUS for meds to cost that much. In my case, since Humana is my Medicare provider, I am saving the taxpayer roughly $6,586.88 ($6,594.38 – my $7.50). Someone is getting PAID and someone is PAYING. I no longer will participate in this scheme!

I have noticed extensive advertising for Tecfidera also. During the Price Is Right, I may see the ad a couple times. It runs regularly. My question is why should I ask my docotor about taking Tecfidera as the ad suggests? Shouldn’t my doctor ask me? Shouldn’t Biogen be telling the doctors about Tecfidera? I OFTEN see pharmaceutical “reps” parade in with their lunch for the doctor’s office and I’ve attended informational dinners sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies  with my and other doctor’s being paid to speak at these dinners. So, there seems to be A LOT of waste for promoting medicines.This resentment may com from the fact I once wanted to be a pharmaceutical rep! lol

I will continue to treat my MS and symptoms with meds that are more affordable for the Tecfideratax payer, the consumer and ME! With swindlers like pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli raising the price of a HIV drug 5,000% and Heather Bresch raising life saving EpiPen more than 470% being rewarded with more and more money… I say NO MORE! I see pretty much ALL pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies as nefarious, greedy, and futile (futile to all but their stockholders)!

With the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I see no hope to reign in rapacious corporations. Another reason I morn Bernie Sander’s departure from the election. I know Bernie would have instigated change. As long as pharmaceutical companies have lobbyist, patients will be screwed! I hope to see Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren team up in the senate to attempt change but, I have little or no faith in the US government to protect me in matters of health.

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Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Roger Starner Jones, M.D. – Letter Writing 101

The Man I MUST Avoid In An Emergency Situation!!!

What If He Was Referring To Gold Toothed, Tattooed Immigrants?? Oh... But They Would Have Ricky Martin Ringtones Instead of R&B!! Nevermind!

I have read many blogs and comments about this letter trying to defend it as not being racist because he never says specifically the girl is black.  With his choice of descriptive stereotypes he wants the girl’s race to be known or he would have made better choices in describing the situation.   This is where I will offer my assistance to edit the letter he wrote to convey the same message without racially charged descriptions – while still conveying the heart of the message.

While working the night shift in the ER, I was evaluating a patient.  This patient caught my attention for having exceptional dental work, contemporary clothes & shoes, elaborate tattoos and a first-class cellphone.  Noticing these items, I felt they were extravagant for someone listing Medicaid as the payer status.  Following through on the patient’s evaluation, I also discovered this patient was a smoker and may also have an issue with alcohol, both costly vices.    My concern was not only the patient’s health, but the commentary of how this situation speaks to societal woes.

As the President and Congress address health care issues, using our tax dollars to finance them; I hope that education of lifestyle choices could be also addressed.  I understand many have not had the advantages in life I have had and feel education of how to make healthy lifestyle choices could help to begin addressing some of these cultural issues that concern me as a health professional.  Living in a state with high poverty and unemployment; making these educational and life skills training mandatory with accepting government assistance could begin to improve our nations health as well as societal conditions as a whole.

John Doe, MD
Anytown, USA

I feel that my version is not only racially unbiased but also is even gender nonspecific but most importantly offers a possible solution instead of just complaining.

Second – is Dr. Roger Starner Jones’ original letter with my interpretation injected as a narrative in red showing how I perceive what he really wanted say based on the attitude in his writing:

I Would Rather Take My Chances With This Guy!

Dear Sirs: (Anyone that will listen)

During my last night’s shift in the ER (I did not want to work last night), I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient (and I actually had to do some work with a patient while there.) with a shiny new gold tooth, multiple elaborate tattoos, a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and a new cellular telephone equipped with her favorite R&B tune for a ringtone (She was a stereotypical black girl.). Glancing over the chart (To confirm my prejudice,), one could not help noticing (I stuck my nose in her business to see her payer status.) her payer status: Medicaid (It was MY tax money giving her medical attention and no one else… just my tax dollars alone.). She smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes (She has a perfectly legal bad habit that is really none of my business but I will comment on it anyway because it adds to my point because she does not smoke those generic less expensive cigarettes but smokes something high-end like Virginia Slims or Benson & Hedges) every day and, somehow, still has money to buy beer (and she still manages to use alcohol to escape the misery her life must be.). And our Congress expects me to pay for this woman’s health care? (As a medical professional, I am supposed to help someone like this?  I should care about someone like this?) Our nation’s health care crisis is not a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. (Our nations heath care crisis has nothing to do with me and is all to be blamed on poor people like her.) It is a crisis of culture (In this culture I never have been a part of,)—a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on vices while refusing to take care of one’s self (this 20 something attitude, I never got to experience because I had Daddy’s money and chose med school. I was studying and never got to have any cool life experiences.) or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance (My Dad always paid my health insurance until I had a job that covered me and I never had to worry about health insurance so I cannot understand why poor people can’t just buy health insurance of their own.). It is a culture that thinks “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me” (I am jealous for never getting to feel carefree because I am soooo responsible and no one has ever helped me.). Life is really not that hard. (Again, I have had an easy life and have no concept of a life of poverty so I feel free to condemn it.) Most of us reap what we sow (As I say this sh*t I hope there is no such thing as Karma). Don’t you agree? (Are there other narrow-minded jerks that can only think of themselves and validate my hostility about those less fortunate whom I can blame all of society’s problems?)

STARNER JONES,MD (AND ME SARCASTICALLY INTERPRETING)
Jackson, MS                     (Aactually I live in Mississippi also)

I am attempting to be sarcastic, but he was not – that is what is so sad to me!

Doctor Roger Starner Jones is a seventh generation Mississippian and his extracurricular interests are golf, hunting, fishing and college football. He specializes in emergency medicine at  The University of Mississippi medical Center. (http://spotlight.vitals.com/2009/10/dr-roger-starner-jones-muses-crisis-culture/)

He is a doctor that plays golf from Mississippi, that enjoys hunting and fishing!! lol  He is such a stereotypical cliché himself!!  lol  😀


Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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