One time I applied for a patient advocacy, it was a sorta kinda ‘job’….(often I get paid what’s called an ‘honorarium,’ it’s not always a lot, but it’s nice to be recognized, and the money helps pay for things I wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford).
Anyway, my first contact was with the Drug Company rep, who said they were indeed looking for people and turned me over to a big PR firm who specializes in Pharma and Patient Ambassadors or ‘Patient Influencers,’ as we are often called.
The first step was to get my Medicare part D to make a ‘formulary exception request’ so I could have access to this medicine. This particular Medicine is very expensive, so my Medicare Part D denied it over and over again. I filed grievances and did expedited appeals, and got rather crafty at that. I pestered my insurance long and hard and finally, they agreed to pay for the drug, so I began to pursue this opportunity again. It didn’t work out, but the lady I interviewed with on a conference call gave me some hints as to how to find more of this work.
One of the ways she listed was to go on specific medication or drug company websites and if a prompt comes up to ‘Tell Your Story,’ to go ahead and do that, give them the gratis content they seek, because they also look for patient advocates via these sites and the stories we tell. The more colorful a story, with lots of hurdles to overcome, the better. It’s even ok to include dialogue and description in these stories so that the drug company knows what you were up against in your pursuit of health and wellness, which is not always easy. In fact, it’s never easy. By sharing our struggles, other patients and physicians are often emboldened to tell their own, which is really what it’s all about.