Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Good or Good Marketing?

 Two of my uncles are retired Pharmaceutical Sales representatives. Besides getting a good salary they used to get very nice benefits that included travel expenses like lease payments on a good looking and good working car, gasoline and even the cost of a weekly car wash. However their work did not end at the end of the day. After dinner they would sit down and study about the medication which they had  to recommend to the doctors they would see the next day. Their families were used to this routine and this was fine. However when I saw other sales people in my own doctor's office I wondered what they were trying to sell.

 I was not skeptical of sales representatives all my life, but my opinion of them changed when my doctor would not give me my medicine for asthma in the form of a pill and insisted that I use a Disc that would provide the rescue medicine and the medicine to maintain good lungs.  The problem with the Disc is that I had to whiff the medicine instead of inhaling. At first I laughed because I thought that you whiff with your nose not with your mouth, but it turned out that the doctor was told that way. I tried the disc but it was not helping me at all as the medicine in the disc would stay in my mouth and not go in my lungs. I suffered for months and even had fever a couple of times. I told my doctor but he would insist that I keep trying as it will take time for me to get used to this medicine. I was alarmed when he used the words "good health insurance". He told me that not everyone is lucky enough to get this disc because it is expensive and since I had good health insurance I would be paying my regular twenty five dollar co- pay which would be the same for pills as well. My family members tell me that I think too much. The problem I had with the conversation was the fact that the doctor was differentiating between people with good health insurance and people with no health insurance. The company that made this medicine would not make any money if they gave this medicine to everyone who needs it but people with good health insurance will have a chance to try this out. I am too old to whiff any medicine, otherwise I was a very good candidate to try this medicine on. I kept on suffering because I had good health insurance. Does that make sense?

 It is a pity that these Discs were not tried on everyone, because they might have been helpful for some people. 

 My sister gave me a nabulizer as a gift to take medicine as it did not need too much energy to use. That helped me a lot.



Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) is harmful for the environment. This chemical was found in air fresheners and hair sprays and inhalers that were used by people with asthma. Therefore all inhalers for asthma that used this chemicals were banned by by the year 2009. We were very lucky that someone came up with inhalers that use Hydrofluroalkanes  (HFA)  However the cost of the inhalers have increased a lot.  Compared to five dollars copay and twenty five dollars out of pocket we now pay twenty five dollars in copay and sixty dollars out of pocket. Guess what? No generic company has any rights as yet to make these inhalers because of the exclusivity of the rights of the original company that makes them.

 My daughter is suffering with asthma  So for some time or for a long time she  will be paying for inhalers  because of the exclusivity rights the makers of these new inhalers have.  Even though she does not use the Disc, she thinks that it is very cumbersome. Also what a waste of plastic.

This is America, we invent and we sell and we can get rich. I do not have any problem with most inventions or sales or exclusivity of rights unless they are medicine. 

When I lost my full time job and lost my health insurance, neither of my two part time jobs gave me health insurance. My doctor then gave me my medicine in the pill form. I was not a candidate anymore as I had no health insurance.

20 comments:

Beth said...

This is an excellent post and so very true. I feel that I have been given unneeded tests at times because I had good insurance.

Launna said...

I feel for you Munir... I am so grateful that it is not like that in Canada...

The pharmaceutical companies do not have control over the health care system... what people think we have free, we do not... it is paid through our taxes but I would take that any day of the week to know I was covered.

There are a lot of generic medications whether you are rich or poor...

fishducky said...

One of our sons is a pharmaceutical sales representative. (We refer to him as our drug dealer) He has gained a very good knowledge of medicine & was VERY helpful with a recent medical problem I had!!

Chatty Crone said...

Great post. And unfortunately true. I don't know what the answers are. It will be interesting to see what happens in a year or so. I have asthma too. sandie

Ruth said...

That happened to me one time. I was given a nasal allergy medicine and I ended up with a sore throat. It was listed as a side effect and I called the doctor. She just told me to try it again. I was using it wrong because it shouldn't do that. I trust very little in the way of pharmaceuticals these days.

Youmna09 said...

This happens so much in Dubai. The very first thing in each clinic or any hospital they ask "Do you have insurance card?" . I clearly remember I once had severe tonsils that they were even bleeding, I visited a clinic in Dubai and the doctor came up with so many tests to undergo and was suspecting that I had throat caner. Anything to earn money in the form of insurance.

Shelly said...

Excellent points. When our health care is compromised because a drug company and doctors want to make more profit, something is definitely very wrong!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

To me, this is exactly what's wrong with a for-profit health care industry. it's all about profit and not about helping.

yaya said...

Your post is very true..I have some pretty strong opinions about insurance coverage and Obabmacare...but I think I'll just say that the drug reps that come to our hospital bring in really good lunches!

DWei said...

And this is why I'm glad I'm a Canadian. Free health care for all!

Lexa Cain said...

I'm sorry you and your daughter suffer from asthma and have trouble getting medicine. I sure hope some company can make an inexpensive generic one soon. Good luck! :-)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Sad, but true. Let's hope the upcoming changes in healthcare insurance will level the playing field. It's outrageous that medications cost so much money in the first place, and even more outrageous that some doctors prescribe based on their own interests rather than what's in the best interest of the patient.

Ghadeer said...

It's so tragic how companies have evolved to look at people and their health issues as dollar signs.

Michael Offutt, "Johnny on the Spot" said...

My mom has a nebulizer and it helps her a lot.

klahanie said...

Dear Munir,

Controversial or not, with our Universal Healthcare system in Britain, I never have to worry about the right kind of medical insurance. It's free from the point of service.

The health of your family is a right, not a privilege.

Wishing you and your daughter well.

Gary

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I sent this post to a coworker of mine and they found it quite interesting and they loved it!

Empty Nest Insider said...

I'm sorry that you and your daughter both suffer from asthma. I hope that you are both being treated with the proper medications. It is ridiculous how insurance companies can be so difficult, and I hope that positive changes are coming soon.

Julie

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Munir,
There is so much truth in this writing! Making money is the goal and they don't care about the complications or suffering of the individual. We are lucky that we have personal friends in the medical world and they are from Gujarat State. That makes ALL the difference. Oh, I had to use that Asthma pump in 2007... Our daughter in Rotterdam has Asthma and living in such a polluted city is not helping her. So far I'm okay now and we can trust our friends as they want the best for us. Guess we both owe our lives to those friends. Manoj, my doctor took me off most medication and I'm doing so much better because my kidneys got damaged by using Prednisone for years. Life is not easy and finding the balance between little medication and healthy food is tricky!
Hugs to you and your daughter.
Mariette

Chatty Crone said...

I am on that dumb inhaler too and it is very expensive $$$! I think pharmaceuticals companies have hurt America. I agree with you. sandie

Granny Annie said...

This is a wonderful blog post. It needs to be published. You would not believe the amount of excessive medications I threw out after Ron died because he had good insurance. They tried every new thing available on the market for him. Good job writing Munir!