Sunday, 9 December 2012

Drug Companies

Hmmm....  the thing with drug companies is that they are a double edged sword.  Without them I wouldn't have the drugs that I need to take to beat this horrible thing that I have inside me (I would say disease or cancer, but they are other things I want to hit with a shovel and will save for another post another day).  They are the place where people work to create medicine to save lives.  They are also the place where I think greed is, well I will let you draw your own conclusions.

So far in my Melanoma Journey I have taken 2 cancer drugs.  Neither of these drugs are free really, as Alberta is not a province that picks up the tab for them like some others in Canada now do.  I was lucky that my private insurance covered 85% of the first drug and that the remainder of the bill was eaten up by the drug company itself.  For 3 boxes of the pills the total cost on the bill was just over $9000.

Those wonderful little pills gave me more then just medicine.  They gave me hope.  They may have came with side effects that made me itch to the high heaven, caused hair loss to the point that I shaved my head so that I didn't have to deal with the amount that was falling out on a daily basis, but like a said they also gave me hope.  Zelboraf was my first line treatment, my life line and when all else fails it is something I can come back to for that hope again.

While taking them I never thought of the cost of them.  Not once did it cross my mind how I would pay for them if my insurance didn't eat up as much as it did of the big price tag.  I was just thankful that they kept arriving at my door and that I was able to take them.  That they were giving me time that I might not otherwise have.

When this medication ran it's course and I had to start a different drug that I started to see the dollar signs and do the math.  You see this second treatment I get to take as a 90min infusion every 3 weeks for 4 infusions.  I did not have to pay for this drug either as a qualified for compassionate use.  Thankfully the drug companies see that this is a drug that is necessary for possibly extending the lives of the people that need it, so they pick up the full amount.  You my want to sit down before I tell you what 90ml of this wonderful little treat is. 

Are you ready?  I am not sure that you are.  I was told by one of the persons in charge of the Medical DayCare Unit as the TBCC where I receive my infusions that it is one of, if not the most, expensive drug that the hospital has.  So here it is 90ml = $35,000.  I kid you not!  For what each infusion costs I could be buying a high end car.  If is saved up the cost of each infusion I could have half of a townhouse paid off.  For the cost of one infusion I could cross off the most important item off of my Bucket List without a worry. 

So here is where the drug companies gain their spot on My Shovel List.  Now don't get me wrong I am very thankful that they cover the cost of the drugs that I have had to take over these last 7 1/2 months.  But think of what life must be like for those that need drugs like the ones I have taken and the cost is not covered?  Why does a drug need to cost $35,000 for 90ml?  Why do 135 tablets have to cost over $9000? 

In North America there is a person diagnosed with Melanoma every 65mins, approximately.  Each of us diagnosed has the chance of getting to the point of needing these drugs and I sadly don't think that the drug companies are going to continue to be as generous with all the possible medications that a stage IV patient may need.  How can anyone that goes into a profession to help save lives put such a huge price tag on a life?  How can they do that with good conscience?  How can making money be more important then saving a life?  This is why I want to hit them with a shovel and bury them in my backyard!!

So drug companies I have an idea that can save you from being buried in my backyard, and it isn't even asking you to make the drugs for free.  Tanning Salons in the US are a 5 billion dollar a year industry.  It is a know fact that they are part of the reason why Melanoma is on the rise with youth, especially with females 15-30. 

How about this?  How about the governments get their act together and tell the salon companies, and the bed and the light manufactures that they have to pay the drug companies that make the drugs that we need to extend our lives.  Doesn't that make sense to you?  I mean tobacco companies have to do something like that don't they?  So why not make tanning do the same?  Make them foot the bill for the epidemic that they are feeding?  Drug companies should be lobbying the governments to make this happen and they shouldn't be wasting a minute in doing so!

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