Here I am at the pharmacy get a refill. Why am I here when I have a blog about romance writing to write? Why didn't I take care of this couple of days ago? I did. At least I tried.
My insurance company wouldn't pay for them on that date though. They said I could have no more for five days.
I had been given a thirty day supply. Thirty days had passed. What was the problem?
The story goes back several months.
I have a chronic medical condition which, fortunately, is well-controlled by medication.
As soon as generic equivalent came on the market, I switched to it and did well for a couple of years. A few months back, when I refilled it, I noticed the pills were a different color. Not to worry, the insert in the bag said. It's still the same medication. But I checked an old bottle. It was a different manufacturer.
Anybody want to guess why the pharmacy would buy from a different manufacturer?
But by law it had to be the same, cheaper or not.
In the first couple of days, I noticed different side effects. I'd been tolerating the drug's side effects for years. Since the difference was that they were milder, I decided to count my blessings. When I had a recurrence of the old problem, I shrugged. It happens.
A few weeks later I had another flare up. Longer and more intense. Diet affects the condition. Okay, no more fudging. No chance taking. I cleaned up my act. The improvement was short-lived. Intervals between flareups grew shorter until there were no good days. Only not-so-good days and not-good-at-all days.
Something was wrong, but it couldn't be the medication. Anyway, I didn't feel like I was on no medication--only that something wasn't working as it should.
I was about halfway through a month's supply when one day cleaning out some papers, I came across an old pharmacy receipt and was reminded that the drug store had changed suppliers. I was about halfway through a thirty day supply.
I called my doctor for advice but he on vacation and wouldn't return for a couple of weeks. I made an appointment for the first day he would return.
I decided to test my theory. I went to a different pharmacy, ascertained that they used a different generic manufacturer and got enough pills to last until I could see the doctor. I knew insurance would not cover them. I paid out of my pocket.
On them I was little better, but the amount of improvement quickly leveled out. When I saw my doctor and told him all that had happened, he gave me a NEW prescription for the BRAND NAME. That was the end of June.
The difference was night and day. Thirty days later, I went back for a refill. That was last Thursday. You know what happened. You see, by the insurance company's lights, I had four pills which I should have taken before I started the new prescription, and they by god, were not going to pay. You see, as far as the insurance company was concerned, BRAND NAME or not, it was the same drug.
So let's talk cost. BRAND is around 300. Generic, 180. That's for 30 days. My copay for BRAND is 60. My copay for generic is 8. Does this look off to anyone besides me?
Now here's the kicker. In Canada where drug prices are regulated, the BRAND name can be bought for less than 250 for a six month supply.
The insurance company had the nerve to tell me I--little Mary Margret Daughtridge, the romance writer*--could keep medical costs down by asking for generic. Me? I think I can do better than that!
There's health care bill before congress now. I have no opinion of it, nor am I inviting political discussion. There are blogs for that kind of thing and this isn't one. But I do wonder, has anyone else had a generic that no matter what anyone says, you know was not the same thing?
*my mention of the life of the romance writer. Okay, I guess there's not that much connection. Except that I write romance and this is about my life. And all this was going on while I was trying to meet a deadline for SEALed With A Ring.