I called Tonisha at Dr. Tan’s office yesterday morning and left a message on her machine. I mentioned that I hadn’t heard anything from Novartis and wondered if she had. I left my name and phone numbers. I’ve been sitting by the phone ever since but no calls thus far, five hours later. I have just a few Gleevec chemo treatments left. Unless I hear from someone very soon, I’ll have to make my first of several $5,000.00 per month Gleevec purchases. I’ll try calling Tonisha again tomorrow (Wednesday).
A nurse from our insurance company, United Healthcare, called as a courtesy call. She had no idea of any of my medical history…but she asked. I told her of my Gleevec predicament and she told me of a couple of co-pay assistance programs. I looked them up on the internet but the patient has to be within the “poverty guidelines” to qualify. We don’t qualify. It looks more and more like we’re going to have to find at least $18,000 per year from our family budget to devote to Gleevec if I’m going to stay alive. I feel bad that we are going to be doing this to the finances of our family. I also feel bad that while families are trying to scrape enough money together for similar treatments and going bankrupt, fat-cat doctors and pharmaceutical executives are living larger than these lives are apparently worth to them.
I understand that while film stars, music stars, and athletes make tens of millions of dollars a year via entertaining our society, doctors and other mover-and-shakers of the health care business want paid big dollars too. After all, their financial and intellectual investment is much greater than these entertainers. I noticed that Apple CEO Tim Cook was paid $378 million last year. I’m sure he’s worth it and I’m sure Albert Pujols is worth the millions he’s being paid…and all the others are too. Outlandish salaries abound everywhere. It makes extremely high paying salaries seem like nothing. I noticed the government is hiring someone as an “Invitations Coordinator.” That person will make $103,000 per year and have five weeks vacation for coordinating invitations. So, I suppose I can’t blame Novartis for wanting to join the money party. So what if their Gleevec drug costs patients $72,000 per year or a large part thereof?! No worries; it’s a money party…for them!!