So Wirth-Liss came up with a patient assistance program, where the patient gets $600/year covered by the insurance company, to help lessen the cost burden. Their idea was that this way more patients could afford the drug, so more doctors would order it. I can see the logic.
But the implementation left much to be desired.
Some company genius, with apparently no grasp of reality or human nature, decided the best way to do this was to send every person who qualified for the plan a prepaid credit card with $600 on it. The idea was that Mr. Patient would hand it to the doctor's staff at each visit, it would be swiped for $50 each time, and at the end of the year the card would be empty.
Unfortunately, it didn't occur to them to lock-out the accounts so that they could only be used at a doctor's office...
Basically, they sent patients pre-paid giftcards with $600 on them.
Of course, given human nature, most patients saw this as a windfall, and went on spending sprees. They bought groceries, beer, clothes, toys, a tank of gas, whatever.
Then, when it was time to go to the doctor, they didn't have any money left for the drug. So they opted not to receive it. So the drug wasn't given, and Wirth-Liss Pharmaceuticals, Inc. wasn't able to bill an insurance company for it. And, in fact, they now had a new corporate loss of $600 per irresponsible patient.
Of course, the patients thought this was grossly unfair. They couldn't understand why they couldn't have the drug, when, after all, they'd qualified for the assistance program. The fact that they'd blown their co-pay was beside the point. They also didn't see why they now had to pay cash for the co-pay, since the program person told them they wouldn't have to.
And, of course, they wanted another card.
When the above was explained to them, suddenly they remembered they'd never received the $600 drug card, or it had been stolen, or they hadn't seen it since an alien abduction on the way home from Las Vegas.
The program has since been replaced with one where the card can only be used at a specific doctor's office.
The executive behind it, I hope, has been canned.
The drug reps have the difficult job of explaining the program changes, and why they were made, to doctors and their staffs. Who are laughing hysterically.