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Maybe I missed it, but I haven't any mention of the Pfizer program for Medicare patients; it's been all over TV ads around here in Montana. I haven't looked in the Pfizer board, I'm sure there's something about it in there.

For those who haven't heard, you sign up for free, get a card, and the tricky wording part is, it sounds like, to me anyway, then your co-pay is $15/month per each Pfizer prescription. I think. There must be something online, dumb me, writing this first before checking it out.

Anyway, the restrictions are simple, you're on Medicare, you aren't otherwise covered for prescriptions [or at least, for what Pfizer makes/sells] , and your individual or married incomes can't be above X or Y. The income limits seemed a little on the low side, and it wasn't clear what "income" meant, but I'm sure at least that at least patients don't have to sell off their assets, etc.

Wouldn't it be great if all the PMA member companies got together and got behind an industry-wide program like this?

1) It can help a lot of people.
2) It might help the government keep its claws off the business.
3) It'd help sales of branded drugs being lost to generics, where the prescribers and patients are now forced into "sorta kinda okay" alternatives because the branded drug is prohibitively expensive, even though the branded drug is the best choice.

Immediately coming to mind are all the patients that would do so much better on Risperidal (risperidone, Jannssen/J&J), but are taking generics like thioridizine, fluphenazine, and so forth. And a lot that stop their meds because they can't stand the side effects. And then up in custodial care, where otherwise they'd be self-sufficient for at least a few more years.

A relative of a friend was [supposed to be taking] Haldol, for some pretty well-indicated reasons (sudden rages, irrational behaviors, etc) [and yes, R/O's for Alztheimers, multi-infarct, etc, and was psychiatrically assessed], but said "the hell with this stuff, I'm a zombie".

Fortunately a little tweaking and behind the scenes manipulating the psychiatrist and internist, and educating them about risperidone (for which they really thanked me and were grateful; they switched a lot of their patients to Risperidal and got excellent results) got his Rx changed, he stayed on his meds, and the crotchety, cantankerous man even managed to choke out the words "thank you for helping me", through clenched teeth of course.

But he could afford the meds out of pocket.

A PMA-wide plan on the Pfizer model (or a better one, even) would also help with R&D/front-end investment recovery before the drugs can be made and sold by the generic trade.

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