Monday, July 14, 2014

Dear Azilect,

Recently, one of my patients applied to your Azilect assistance program, to help those unable to afford a prescription for it.

She filled out the papers, got them together with her Azilect prescription and financial info, and I signed the forms and put them in the mail.

So, I was somewhat puzzled when she brought in this letter last week:




What's up with this? I mean, if the Azilect Patient Assistance Program DOESN'T provide Azilect, what do they provide? Oven mitts?

For future clarification you should consider renaming the program "Non-Assistance" or "No-Azilect Program."

Or, simply have it supply Azilect in the first place.

Yours truly,

Ibee Grumpy, M.D.

14 comments:

Azilect Patient Assistance Program, PR Department said...

It's a branding thing for our new line of clothing aimed at the 18-25 market. It's kind of like how there's no rabbit in Welsh rabbit and no egg or cream in an egg cream. "Azilect Patient Assistance Program" is just a name. There's no Azilect or patient assistance. But check out our summer catalog if you want some cool threads.

The Patient Doc said...

I kinda feel like these programs don't really help anybody. They jus make you do a lot of paperwork and get your hopes up and then...nothing. It's horrible.

Anonymous said...

By any chance did the application/scrip use the generic name instead of the brand name?

Patent trolls want to know...

Anonymous said...

What I would like to understand is why some patient assistance programs only provide assistance to patients who actually have insurance/drug coverage, and don't apply to patients who have no prescription drug coverage. So in other words, those who already have a third party defraying at least part if a drug's cost get even more help paying for the drug, while those with no help continue to get.... no help. WTF?

Anonymous said...

Guarantee you she putthe amoxicillin rx from her dentist in the envelope instead of the azilect you wrote..lol

Anonymous said...

@Anon 1:00

People with insurance who can't afford a high tier copay may still be profitable to the drug companies. They "assist" with the cost of the copay, and the insurance company picks up the rest of the tab that they would anyways. "Assisting" with a 75 dollar copay may still yield a payout of several hundred dollars from the insurance company. People without insurance will not offer that payout.

Anonymous said...

They CAN help you with artisan seaweed product orders. Simply dial their toll free number...

Anonymous said...

Response from the Azilect PR Dept writer. you should be writing your own blog, hilarious comment.

Yes, anon 1:00 it's ALL about the cha ching for certain, rarely ever about caring for patients. That is NOT the way of for profit health care.

Candida Gomez said...

Kind of reminds me when I was on cash assistance (yes, welfare) several years ago, and they sent me a cutoff notice to the address I was living at saying, "We do not know where you are." Really. (After I'd submitted the paperwork, too.)

Bonus points for DSHS having a policy where they had to send it to the address you were living at if at all possible, and no forwarding.

The kicker is is that "form" answers were always in all capitals. This wasn't. So someone opened up the form letter, made sure to insert my address at the top, and typed this in. I got it sorted out.

I hope the appeal is as successful and your patient gets the medication they need.

Hattie said...

I'm sorry, but I could not help laughing out loud.

Anonymous @ 8:00-ish said...

Anon @ 1:00

What Anon @ 3:43 said.. but it's even more significant with the more expensive drugs. Take Neulasta (hypothetically-- this is not medical advice!). The rate may be about $2500 per 6mg injection. If you've met your deductible, your insurance may pay $2000 and leave you a $500 co-insurance to pay. Will Amgen pick up your tab? Hell yes they will (if you don't have m/c et al), because after maybe six shots you'll have reached your annual out of pocket maximum. And after that, your insurance will pay the full $2500 per shot.

The expense of the drug doesn't just deter patients, but also prescribers who administer in-facility who need to be reimbursed for these overpriced drugs. This is why these companies have drug reps to come pester us about these things at inconvenient times.

(In Amgen's defense, they also have a full-replacement alternative for the completely uninsured. Probably because it's cheaper for them to manufacture than to subsidize the full-price, as opposed to a co-insurance).

Anonymous said...

I had some issues with generic Wellbutrin because of an issue with the generic formulation (it had a much lower bio-availability and has now been pulled because of it).

When researching other generics, I found that Welbutrin (the Brand Name company) has a program where if your insurance will cover at least $X of it, they'll mail it to you for free--not even needing to pay some of the copay.

Brand name Wellbutrin costs about $500 a month. Even if my insurance only pays for 60% because it's a brand name, that's $300 (minus their costs) that they have that they wouldn't have had otherwise.

The first of this year, I got a call about the fact that I didn't meet my deductible yet, but they would get me the brand name stuff for $50 until such time my deductible was met. So they submitted it to my insurance, my insurance picked up some really small portion (10% I think?) but now Wellbutrin's company has $100 for the bottle and I'm actually $450 closer to my deductible (since $400 of it was written off).

Then the next month, Wellbutrin gets their $300 a month again and I pay nothing.

It's a really clever method that the pharmaceutical company came up with that I actually am very impressed with!

Anonymous said...

Well, MAP (Medication Assistance Program) helps patients cover the cost of brand-name drugs that aren't off patent, so the company can claim some sort of monetary benefit to outrageous advertising claims ratio, but those drug discount cards are different kettle-o-fish. Those cards scoop in the funds for the bully pharmacy benefits high-rollers at PBMs (Pharmacy Benefits Manager businesses) by decreasing the reimbursement costs to the pharmacy that buys the drug, and fills the prescription. It's like Daddy Warbucks stepping in and telling the shopkeeper he'll pay the tab, but he only pays a few cents on the bill and tells the shopkeeper to 'take it'. (Slightly different twist on Medicare medical reimbursement ... private corporations reaping middle-man status largesse.)

cliffintokyo said...

Obviously did not use the magic words associated with off-label use, which brings in the megabucks that fund the company's generous patient assistance scheme, in contrast to the dribble of profit generated by the FDA approved indication, which does not even pay for the CEO private jet....

 
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