Friday, January 4, 2008

What is right, what is fair?

I feel so fortunate. In this decision of mine (I think I've made the decision, now just to go through the channels) to go on the drug Tysabri, I'll have to pay 20%. That's quite the copay! But I am fortunate in that I will have private help to pay this 20%. Insurance companies are moving toward this 20% requirement, if not already there, for injectable and infusion drugs. These drugs aren't just for MS--they are for other chronic diseases as well as cancer. And no worries--if they become available in pill form, there's a way to ID them so the 20% won't go away. So what happens? When insurance changes, people go off the medicines, which is scary because their disease could, and probably will, "kick up" again. People who are newly diagnosed won't go on the medications as they will be too expensive. People with MS are typically diagnosed between ages 20 and 40--you think this age group has $250-$500 per month extra income? I think not. And then if people aren't on the medicines, where's the incentive to develop new medicines? There already is a struggle to develop new medicines for MS--to get studies from the lab to the market, due in a large part to the "low" prevalence of MS (as compared with say, diabetes). And now, with this, what will happen? Is this right? Is this fair? Hmm... someone want to live my life for a day and let me know? And I work for one of these lovely health care companies and was asked today to give my thoughts on "affordability." OK--that's a strategic inititative as well as quality. Wow. Not sure of what I'll say!

God, please help someone, somewhere, to see this issue, to get people who need medicine that medicine, to not limit them by income. At some point, please help someone to realize that these decisions are just not right, and just not fair.

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