I Am Now Only Permitted to Have 6.5 Headaches Per Month

posted by Leann Sweeney

Oh you know what I'm talking about. The great rulers of the universe. Our at least of my universe--my prescription drug carrier. Seems they have taken issue with my need for migraine medication, or at least as much migraine medication as they have determined that I need. Does it seem odd that a pharmacy is allowed to change a doctor's order by simply sending the office a fax and then who ever picks up the fax says "oh well, there they go again?" Does it seem like something is very wrong here? Yeah, me too.

But perhaps we need to take this issue up with another culprit. Glaxo Smith Kline, the makers of Imitrex. They have had a long run with this medication--far longer than should have had. Their patent will not expire until February 2009. What that means is that if I want to buy, say, 9 Imitrex at the pharmacy without using my drug plan--so I can have ENOUGH--it will cost me $200. That's right and it's ridiculous. How did they get their patent to last for what seems like forever? Well, they "reformulated" the drug. From what I can tell that "reformulation" consisted of making a new package, a package that when you indeed have a migraine and need relief quickly will give you a monster migraine as you try to remove a damn pill! You Imitrex addicts out there know exactly what I'm talking about.

And why do I use the word addict? Because it seems like that is what I am being treated like by the prescription drug provider. Okay, I'll name names. Caremark, recently purchased by CVS. After I received the notorious blue letter (oh yeah, had those blue letters before) from Caremark saying that they had reduced my three month supply of Imitrex by 18 pills, I sent them an e-mail. Okay, it wasn't very nice. It was kind of well, hateful is the word that comes to mind. Maybe because I was furious. Since being put on Imitrex more than ten years ago (and getting complete relief for the first time from terrible, debilitating headaches) I have been battling with every single insurance company I've had to get enough medication. One was based in Florida and when that company did what Caremark just did, I filed a complaint with the Florida Board of Pharmacy. After gathering the information, they decided I indeed had a valid complaint after my medication was reduced without direct consultation with my physician. I never followed through because my employer at the time changed companies. Wish I had.

I have since e-mailed Caremark at least 8 times since they screwed me over. No response. They probably want me to call and talk to the "frontman" who reads from a script and has no medical training whatsoever. I want names. Who initiated this change? Was it indeed a fax? Did they ever talk directly to my doctor? If not, who did they speak to at my doctor's office who approved this change? Since Caremark's not talking, I have a doctor's appointment next week and I will get answers. Not that anything will change. The drug companies rule in concert with the prescription providers. Doctors are no longer the leader when it comes to medical care. They are run by insurance companies who in turn have deals with drug companies to make sure that both of those bigtime players make a profit.

When Imitrex goes generic in a year and a half, I will be able to get enough medicine to kill three elephants and the insurance company won't be sending any blue letters telling my doctor this might not be safe. That's because they could care less about me or any other patients. It's all about money. For now, my body better take notice. 6.5 headaches per month (yeah, right!) and that's it!

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