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Monday, October 6, 2014

The Affordability of Multiple Sclerosis

Today, I received my shipment of Tecfidera in the mail from FedEx, and with it, I received my usual receipt and medication instructions. I receive one month of medication at a time, via FedEx. Normally I don’t pay much attention to the enclosed paperwork, because I have been on the medication for quite some time.

Today, I stopped to read the receipt.

“Your drug benefit saved you: $5290.55.”

Mind you, this was for one month of Tecfidera. This really got me thinking about the state of our health care system, our “for-profit” drug companies, and the seemingly unaffordable, astronomical cost of our multiple sclerosis drugs. We can always talk at length about politics, health care affordability and accessibility, and the laws governing those things. However, in the forefront of my mind are those MS patients who have no ability to afford these medications. Most Americans do not even earn $5290 per month, let alone have the ability to pay for these drugs. According to the Social Security Administration, the average salary in the US in 2012 was $44,321 (SSA.gov.)

Multiple Sclerosis is a unique disease, as far as medications go. The disease is currently incurable, and does not tend to shorten the lifespan very much. This leads to the demand for lifelong medication treatment, and a large profit for drug companies. The ethics of this situation are debatable. I am one of the lucky ones, because I am fortunate enough to be insured. I pay 5$ per month instead of $5000. I want so much to help those who aren’t as lucky.

I was pleased to discover that all approved disease modifying medications have prescription assistance programs. I want to share some important drug assistance resources with my fellow MS patients, and I hope these will be helpful to anyone who needs these programs. As we know, disease-modifying drugs are extremely important in our arsenal of treatments for this disease.

Program name: MS One 2 One
Phone: (855) 676-6326
Website: www.aubagio.com

Program name: MS ActiveSource
Phone: (800) 456-2255
Website: www.avonex.com

Program name: BetaPlus
Phone: (800) 788-1467
Website: www.betaseron.com

Program name: Shared Solutions
Phone: (800) 887-8100
Website: www.copaxone.com

Patient Services Program
Phone: (866) 398-2842
Website: www.extavia.com

Patient Services Program
Phone: (800) 445-3692
Website: www.gilenya.com

Program name: MS ActiveSource
Phone: (800) 456-2255
Website: plegridy.com

Program name: MS Lifelines
Phone: (877) 447-3243
Website: www.mslifelines.com

Program name: MS ActiveSource
Phone: (800) 456-2255
Website: www.tecfidera.com

Program name: MS ActiveSource
Phone: (800) 456-2255
Website: www.tysabri.com

If your physician has prescribed one of these medications, and you are unable to afford the cost, do not give up. Please try to reach out to one of these assistance programs, and remember that there are resources available for those in need.

© Meagan Freeman, 2014. Motherhoodandmultiplesclerosis.com
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