Unfortunately, I have psoriasis, which itches and burns so badly it is often painful to wear pants and sometimes even SHOES . For those who might be unfamiliar with this medical malady, psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes an overproduction of skin cells that, unfortunately looks like a cross between measles and leprosy, which can often lay dormant for years even decades, which my doctor cannot explain nor predict (sigh).
It’s not pleasant, nor is it pretty. Sometimes though it is often fueled by stress. However, my stress level has been astronomically better since Nana moved into a nursing home (see https://tenaciousbitch.com/2013/06/28/still-unhappy-but-there-is-a-dog-named-sue/ as to why my beloved Grandmother is such a pill).
The ONLY treatment that helps is a topical prescription called Taclonex, which I’ve been using for almost ten years. Originally, it cost around $500, which is a lot for a 100-gram tube of ointment. However, my co-pay was around $35, so I could live with that.
Oh, but that’s not the American way, is it? A mere 80% markup isn’t enough these days. CEOs can’t really buy a new jet every year on that, can they? Leo Pharmaceuticals might not make the HOTTEST toy this Christmas that every 12-year-old clamors for, however, Leo borrowed the same marketing principles of supply and demand and used them to a very ugly end.
Once Leo Pharm realized that their ointment is the ONLY product that actually gets rid of psoriasis for people with chronic cases (though only short-lived for me), they acted just like your average street corner drug dealer peddling smack by jacking up the price like nobody’s business because they KNEW those of us who have this disease would be REALLY JONESING for more – because it’s so painful.
And additionally, for the first time in 15 years, I experienced being spot free, and I could WEAR SHORTS IN PUBLIC the entire summer here in Ohio when the temps often exceed 90 degrees (around 30 Celsius for my friends abroad). Until this product came along, I often had to go out to dinner on a HOT summer night (say around 80 degrees) wearing jeans because, otherwise, the hostess at the restaurant might notice the red splotches on my skin and ask if I have chicken pox?!! The vitamin D in the sun’s rays helps so tanning salons and sunbathing are an option but NOT a cure.
In the WINTER it gets much worse, so, of course, now I can’t afford the co-pay, which I’ll get to in a minute. And check this out…the recommended dosage from my doctor is 100 grams/week, but the price has escalated so high, my insurance (ANTHEM and most insurances) will only pay for 100 GRAMS/MONTH.
This is what’s wrong with our insurance and healthcare system in America. You have to destroy the capitalism within the system before anything improves. I hate to say that because I grew up in a houseful of Republicans, but it’s true. Capitalism does NOT belong in healthcare but the prickly part is how to remove it. But no one’s talking about or even suggesting such, and this is why OBAMAcare will fail. No, I’m not a communist or a fascist. But the free enterprise model of economics is awesome = except when it comes to healthcare. and I just want medical treatment that VISA isn’t going to SUE ME FOR if I can’t pay for it somewhere down the road, capiche?
In that, I’m not advocating Socialism for the entire country, but with capitalism running rampant within the healthcare system, you can’t try to impose a socialist idea like healthcare for everyone – damned the cost because the system is run by a huge network of greedy bastards who are still going to charge $40 for an aspirin in every hospital in America or $500 for a prescription that cost $80 to make (i.e. Talconex, but now it’s WAY more than that)…And all the folks in Washington seem to be doing is finger pointing. And oh, bloody hell that does a lot of good, does it not?
But politics aside, Leo Pharm and Anthem Insurance are the bad guys here. In that, when Anthem increased my co-pay to $598 for Taclonex in July, I called them. No, I’m not JOKING – FIVE HUNDRED, NINETY-8 DOLLARS! And this product doesn’t cure cancer! It doesn’t heal a hole in one’s heart!! It gets rid of a fucking RASH.
Anyway, Anthem gave me the spiderweb of runarounds. So, I charged the prescription to my credit card in July and August because I was miserable. Then, in September – it was still $598. I wasn’t going to buy any, in October, but my feet bled every time I wore shoes. I called them AGAIN about the $598 copay, and they said my doc needed to call in a Pre-Authorization before they would reduce the copay to $448! Are you fucking SERIOUS? But NO ONE had mentioned this before, and I thought -having danced on this fucking merry-go-round for years – that a Pre-Auth had already been done.
And the whole Pre-Authorization bullshit is a scam anyway if you’ve not had the pleasure of trolling through this corporate quagmire yet. HELLO, If my doctor didn’t think this drug was medically necessary, why the FUCK would she prescribe it? As if my doc just prescribed it just for kicks – just to scribble words on a page. Au contraire, in reality, a pre-authorization requirement is merely a tactic to DELAY the insurance company’s responsibility in paying for the prescription in the hope that the consumer/patient will not want to bother jumping through the WAY TOO MANY hoops required for people just trying to acquire the medical products/services they obviously need.
Anywho, my doctor’s office called Anthem. At which point, they said NO PRE-AUTHORIZATION IS NEEDED. Oh, my FUCKING GOD!!! Can you say RED TAPE AT ITS FINEST?! I was mute with shock! The nurse kept talking about other scripts I’d tried that didn’t work, and all I could think of was that Athem and Leo were bending me over, and I was now powerless to do anything about it.
And that’s the thing that really gets me by the throat. All these fucking marketing gurus and CEO’S live to bleed as much fucking money they can from the average consumer without one single thought about the consequences to us, their bread and butter. Everyone has to make a profit and pay their bills, but I do believe by now Leo Pharm has accrued its pot of gold by raising their price every goddamned year.
So, the nurse called in another prescription. It didn’t do shit. So, I crunched the bullet and paid the fucking $448 for the Taclonex. I don’t know why it wasn’t $598. Maybe, an elf voo-dooed the computer, LOL. I didn’t ask. I just went WEE WEE WEE all the way home before the computer could change its mind! 🙂
However, the thing is – Leo Pharm is losing their patent, which means every Tom, Dickhead and Harry in the pharmaceutical world can produce this wonder drug at a fraction of the cost. So, Leo Pharm only has so much time to EXTORT additional money from their consumers before this particular cash cow is put out to pasture…
My pharmacist, God Bless him, was so sympathetic, that he searched high and low for an online coupon. He found one, but it was for the wrong prescription, and get this…they emailed me (Leo Pharm) actually WELCOMING ME to the Leo Family when this coupon card was activated! Isn’t that sweet…and check out my reply…
From: [mailto: kennedysmith@XXXXXX.com]
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 3:38 PM
Subject: RE: Letter from LEO Pharma Inc
Thanks, but that discount card was activated in error. My doctor didn’t prescribe Talclonex Topical Suspension. She prescribed the Taclonex Ointment, so I couldn’t use the discount card mentioned in the letter attached.
And furthermore, I really HATE, despise and LOATHE your company for charging more than $1500 for Taclonex, when a stronger version of the very same product ALSO manufactured by Leo Pharmaceuticals is less than $300 in Canada for 20% MORE of the damned ointment!
I hope your CEO and the majority stockholders at Leo are enjoying their new yachts or new Mercedes they’re able to afford with the outrageous $598 co-pay I’ve been forced to charge to my Visa the last couple of months. And I so love adding to my ever-mounting credit card debt for medical expenses – especially due to the fact that I’ve been unemployed for most of the last 2 years.
I’ve heard that Leo will be losing the original patent on Taclonex in about a year, and I will be drinking champagne and clicking up my heels that day—unless my psoriasis is so bad that I can’t wear shoes, much less click my heels.
So, fuck you and your goddamned USELESS discount!!!
A very unhappy customer.
otherwise known as KENNEDY SMITH
US FUCKING A
I feel really bad that I verbally accosted the woman who sent me this form email, but I was livid, and I’ve mentioned my horrendous temper (i.e. https://tenaciousbitch.com/2013/10/07/how-i-almost-murdered-ex-husband-2/ ), which is no excuse, but it’s too late now. It didn’t bounce back, so it wasn’t an automated address. Maybe, she laughed because she hates Leo too. Maybe, it really upset her, who knows.
I just happened to notice the actual retail price on the receipt from the pharmacy. Talk about STICKER shock. And that’s why the copay has been $598. In that, all drugs that cost over $500 have a 40% copay on my policy, so the Pre-Authorization nonsense are just empty words. But the poor schmucks answering the phone could never say that even if THEY KNEW why the co-pay had gone nuclear. And I wasn’t fabricating that part about the Canadian product. Check this out (from the website of the Canadian drug store):
You searched for:
Marketed as Dovobet Ointment in United Kingdom and Canada
Dovobet Ointment 0.05%/0.005%
Manufactured by: Leo Pharma
This product is offered for sale by Day Lewis of United Kingdom
From $2.20 USD/gram
All of which is, so fucking typical, and, unfortunately, so fucking American…
Maybe, I should just move to Mexico. The lovely sun would definitely help my skin, and at least if the drug lords come after me down there, I’ll see ’em coming, and I can start shootin’ when I see the whites of their eyes…LOL…instead of yelling at them from cyberspace cuz Leo Pharm doesn’t list the address for their corporate office ANYWHERE online that I can find, probably for fear people like me will show up M-16s BLARING…:)
PEACE OUT from oh, my FUCKING GOD NOT AGAIN central…
Tenacious BITCH and her band of truth spouting hippies….