Sunday, September 14, 2014

Meanwhile back at the rheumatologists office

Monday I went to see the rheumatologist's nurse practitioner for the first time. She has the best decorated exam room.



And she has a whole wardrobe in the bottom drawer of her file cabinet. I can't wait to see her next outfit.

But I digress. Because of the mystery cysts/nodules on my elbow the NP asked me if I wanted to try switching from methotrexate to something else.... in case the bumps are rheumatoid nodules caused by methotrexate. She offered me Xeljanz. I opted to wait until we know what they are before making a change. Changing one medication often requires changing multiple medications for me so I do not quickly jump on that bandwagon.

I went to my before the birds MRI on Friday and should get the results tomorrow. Yesterday I also got the x-ray results on my elbow which say "Mild soft tissue thickening over the olecranon, consider bursitis." How helpful. But the NP made a note saying we will know more after the MRI results.

In the meantime, I decided to do a little research on Xeljanz as a treatment option. It costs a paltry $25 per day at the regular pharmacy or you can do the math - one hell of a lot each year. The mail order pharmacy should bring that down to $105/month which is much better but still. As a comparison, Methotrexate costs me $8.70 for about four months of drugs and needles.

Then yesterday in the mail, I received a box. From Pfizer???? What did they want? It was almost big enough to hold a bottle of wine (wishful thinking). I opened it up and found:

 Now I think I know what the Xeljanz capsules will look like.... And inside the giant pill was:


  • Ready for a change booklet - questions to ask your doctor
  • Your body was made for better things than RA - a hefty brochure containing the prescribing safety information
  • A lovely letter congratulating me for taking the first step in considering a change in medication
  • A day by day RA symptom tracker complete with little colored post it notes (Made in China) to use to mark each day's efforts
  • A co-pay savings card. With a maximum of $8000 in coverage each year - or the card to suck people in to switching.

Well, now my little marketing brain kicks in. Some how, I am on a list of people who said they are taking methotrexate for RA - I probably took some online survey or something.... I don't really care how they got my name and address. And then the marketing people said "let's send all these RA methotrexate people information on switching to our expensive new drug."

Then they dreamed up this lovely box and giant red and white capsule to fill with expensive marketing tools. My educated guess as  amarketing person that it cost about $8 to print everything and get it in the mail, which is expensive as marketing premiums go, but nothing compared to the billions they make every year.

But its a waste for me - except for the co-pay savings card - as I do not base my decisions on marketing crap from big companies but on what my doctors suggest. And I want my MRI results before doing anything.

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