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Biologic Needed But How Can I Afford It?
from Clark M.

Hi Ed. I need to vent. Is it my imagination, or is it true that you can guess whether or not psoriasis meds are going to work based on their cost? Over the years my dermatologist has worked me up a ladder of drugs that are increasingly expensive. I've had better and better luck, meaning the drugs have worked and kept me clear for longer periods, but paying for them over the past few years has been tough. I've had periods with no insurance (because I was unemployed) and those have been REALLY tough. In fact, I'm in one of those periods now. Is it just fate that my dermatologist should now decide I need to use Enbrel? Of course, cost was not discussed. I picked that up at Next time somebody asks what's wrong with my skin I'm going to say "I can't afford clear skin like yours." Crap. -Clark M.


Ed's Response: You're not alone in your frustration about the high cost of the biologics. I'm taking Humira at double the typical dose (a weekly shot instead of a shot every OTHER week) and my insurance is billed $2,400 a month. My monthly copay is $30. Believe me, I sweat at the prospect of losing that insurance. Meanwhile, you're living my nightmare.

Here are links to the "help" pages at the biologic manufacturers web sites, you might find some options:

Amevive: Astellas Pharmaceuticals Patient Assistance Program

Enbrel Insurance and Co-pay Assistance

Humira: Abbott Patient Assistance Programs

Remicade: J&J Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc.

Good luck, Clark. -Ed


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