ORENCIA – the RA DRUG ADVERTISED DURING THE OSCARS
I am tired this morning – for one reason. I stayed up to watch the OSCARS. For an East Coast girl on a Sunday night, this requires dedication.
I cheered for my favorite movies, actors etc – and over the course of the evening, I became obsessed with something not connected to the show… The commercials for Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMS) new Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug, Orencia (c). The Commercial (which aired many many times) showed a younger woman holding a blue card that said ORENCIA PROMISE PROGRAM. She said that BMS would pay for your co-pay of the medication for 6 months!
SERIOUSLY? Well I am a skeptic, but I looked it up. According to the drug’s website www.orencia.com, if you sign up you must have health insurance (not a governmental funded program), must not live in Massachusetts, and must receive a specific number of infusions. If you don’t like the medication there is a way you can get a refund or rather $500 toward another medicine.
This new program raises all sorts of questions for me:
1. Are you really signing up to be in a study?
2. Won’t your health insurance company put a lien on that $500 since they paid for the drug for many months?
3. Do you have to have a prescription before you can sign up for the “PROMISE” Program?
Well – apparently the answers to the above questions are (1) NO (2) MAYBE and (3) NO!
You can sign up without ever having received a prescription.. Then you go to your doctor and say “Give me this, I have a free co-pay..” Then what if she refuses?
This is where I see a conflict. Patients signing up for medications and pressuring their physicians.
We will see. I would love to hear from anyone on the program or doctors who have been asked to prescribe because of free co-pays.