KEY TAKEAWAY: We keep hearing about the “value” of prescription drugs versus the price, but until we understand that value means to the patients we are missing the key element of how Rx drugs are helping people.
Debra is a 50 something patient who was diagnosed with progressive MS a year ago. She knew something was wrong as she had problems with her vision and was overly tired. She finally went to a neurologist who confirmed that she has MS.
“I was more afraid of what might happen and how I was going to continue to work rather than what was happening at that very moment”, she said. I was started on IV steroids along with a medication from Bayer but the side effects made her cringe. “My doctor recommended Tysabri and although I was skeptical of an IV drug it worked really well”. She added “thank you Biogen”.
Is there one thing she would like to tell the folks at Biogen? “Yes, MS patients need emotional support and need to be connected to others and although I have been invited to some MS info dinners I just don’t have the time to attend”.
Are you doing better? Her answer was “yes”. She has progressive MS and most of the medications for MS are for relapsing MS. She also said that it would be great if Biogen could supply some reading materials or DVD’s on how the drug work so she has something to do during the infusion. Finally, she thought a “caregivers guide” for MS would be welcome by most MS patients.
When I talked with her, she had just completed a grueling week at work and she said “I didn’t have to worry about my MS all week and that alone is a lot of value in my book”.
How many more people, like her, are out there? My guess is a lot. The arguments over price are not going away, but the more value patients get from their medications the less they are going to want to jump on the anti-pharma bandwagon.