Help With the Cost of MS Drugs
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Just over a week ago, we told you about the price of the new oral disease-modifying therapy for multiple sclerosis, Gilenya. Many of you responded with surprise, disappointment, and disgust. Some of you, however, pointed out thepriceof your current DMT versus the actualcostyou pay.
There is a big difference between the wholesale price of a drug and what we actually pay for them.
Without factoring in ancillary expenses like doctors visits, infusion supplies, and the like, the biggest factors in our out-of-pocket costs for our disease-modifying drugs are our individual insurance coverage, co-pays, and co-insurance rates.
Then, for those of usnoton Medicare Part D, there is eligibility for drug manufacturer’s assistance programs.
I say for those not on Part D because the lawmaking process that went into the Part D negotiations made giving discounts and assistance directly to anyone on the plan illegal. Those discounts are supposed to be afforded directly to Medicare. Whether that system works is in the eyes of the beholder.
Novartis, the makers of Gilenya, last week announced one of the most to date, which will cover up to 0 in pre-treatment and first-dose medical expensesandpay up to 0 per month toward a patient's co-pay.
There will, of course, be debate as to whether this enough, why the company doesn’t just reduce the price, and much more. The fact that Novartis has raised the bar for patient assistance is notable.
Most of us use some form of assistance for our medications, be it a couple of months free from the maker, discounts for 3-month supplies delivered by mail-order pharmacies, or other help.
I thought we’d begin this week talking about whether and how each of you uses these programs. I think we will all learn something, and for those struggling with the high cost of drugs or those who do not use disease modifying treatments due to the expense and don’t know about such programs, this discussion could beveryimportant.
Also, I’ll be visiting the offices of Everyday Health in New York this week. We’ll try to make sure they give me time to post my blogs… Anything you’d like me to bring up while I’m there?
Wishing you and your family the best of health.
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