South Florida Sun Sentinel Published my Opinion-Editorial!!! I’m still in shock.

Photo of a photo

 

 

SunSentinel

I’m one for 7 in terms of freelance writing (This is outside of what I send to international bipolar disorder foundation and bipolar hope).

I have sent out, let me count….7 pieces of content. See, I’m manic and will be all over the place with no perspective if I don’t keep track. Finally, one hit in the Daily Newspaper. South Florida Sun Sentinel. Since my point of view is ironically funny with the airlines metaphor and inflammatory I only became aware they printed my story by the huge amount of backlash!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/commentary/fl-viewpoint-pharma-20160419-story.html

Check it out and comment on it if you want to jump in the fray. Topic? Drug prices. Prescription drug prices. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get all our scrips on the corner? That’s what Scarface, the rapper says in his song “Can’t get right” …”We can’t afford our ‘scriptions, so we all gonna die. CVS is slingin’ dope on evry block WORLDWIDE!  See, we little people? We have to deal with all those middle men that make things legal.

Letter to the Editor re RX prices Boston Globe

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I was beginning to think my favorite subject had disappeared into the campaign trail because it’s too complicated for The Donald. He can’t build a wall or mete out justice to the drug companies but he can agree with the rest of the bunch (for once…take that as his silence) and that’s why we aren’t hearing about it. Until last night when I read Boston Globe and saw…an article by the Dean of Harvard Med School’s really vague, non specific op ed. I only went to Stanford, so they won’t give me the column inches for an article but maybe my letter to the editor? I didn’t mention the bipolar bit.

How Generics coming on market and driving Price Down (Generic Viagra FDA approved)

Generic Viagra

 

I just read that generic Viagra has just gotten FDA approval. That does not mean you can buy it right away at a huge discount. One manufacturer will have to get FDA approval for the safety and efficacy of their new formulation, the process takes 48 months. But sometimes they do it early so the FDA approval of the new generic competitor to the brand happily coincides. It takes about one and a half years to two years for the price to go into free fall and get really really low.

So guys..and gals…don’t get too excited. Not just yet.

How Generics coming on market and driving Price Down (Generic Viagra FDA approved)

Generic Viagra

 

I just read that generic Viagra has just gotten FDA approval. That does not mean you can buy it right away at a huge discount. One manufacturer will have to get FDA approval for the safety and efficacy of their new formulation, the process takes 48 months. But sometimes they do it early so the FDA approval of the new generic competitor to the brand happily coincides. It takes about one and a half years to two years for the price to go into free fall and get really really low.

So guys..and gals…don’t get too excited. Not just yet.

There is good news on the Generic Price rising front

 

 

There is more transparency and stuff open to public inquiry via the freedom of information act. I’m working hard on this. I don’t know how many of us with bipolar disorder have disability and medicare but I do know 80% of first timers who received disability benefits on their first application have a mental health diagnosis. The donut hole part of Part D seems particulary unfair at times but that’s the way we let them set things up. I’m working on a piece for International Bipolar Disorder with helpful information and am pitching a longer version of this tale by way of a few other publications. We’ll see, it’s one of those topics where editors just want to stick their heads in the sand for fear of depressing their readers. That’s too bad, because there is some good news and people can make sense of this seesaw. AllisonBlackandWhite

The story on the concentration of power in the hands of a few and unlimited pricing power is scary

The following is a fax I just wrote to my pharmacist, an indie who is really up on this stuff. He is the one who had my back; covering the inflated cost of my 62-year-old Benzo for Tardive Dyskinesia two months in a row thinking Medicare Part D would reimburse him. He took the loss two months in a row on my behalf. He’s got my back. do I have his????? This is what I ask myself and I urge you all…..skip the chains. Indies are where it’s at for cost and service. They get to know you and catch drug drug interactions and side effects your doctor might be too busy to catch. It’s their business and they are damned good at it.

 

2-22-16

Dear Ade,

Good Morning, The stories about monopolies and prescription drugs just keep getting worse.

I read this transcript of a testimony given for senate oversight committee of government reform re: prescription drugs. The guy’s name was Mark Merritt, claiming to head up the league of pharmacy benefit managers. He claims they leverage lower prices on prescriptions, bla, bla bla.

Then I read a New York Times article by a Yale University Endocrinologist who says that one of the three biggest PBM’s Actually IS CVS! Even tho insulin has been around forever, only three big companies control the market and have managed to keep tweaking their meds to extend patent protection all these decades. Her patient can’t afford the price of insulin once she hits the donut hole and can’t afford her medicine for the rest of the year because it’s too expensive and she doesn’t qualify for RX assistance or Medicaid. This is the situation I find myself in but I have more cash on hand than most.

Isn’t that a Conflict of Interest? She claims once her client hits the donut hole she can’t pay for her medicines and what’s worse, only three people …Lantus, Sanovi and Norvo Nordisc, make injectable insulin, a biologic, which has been extended patent protection for 12 years, not 7, and controls the insulin market until a biosimilar shows up. Every time I think I have the story figured out….it gets worse!!! Now I’m thinking of submitting a story to the Sun Sentinel. What have I got to lose? At least they are not compromised.

 

OK..More importantly,

I’m coming going out your way tomorrow to see the dentist so I have an RX list of stuff that’s close or due. I’m out of donut hole so I’m an aggressive consumer again, saving my extras for the months I can’t afford anything.

Here is the list: Valium, Metformin, Linzess, Lipitor. I’ll drop off the scripts. I see psychiatrist this week so anything we need I will find out from you.

Love,

Allison Strong

Shaking, rattling and Rolling Executives at FDA’s Orphan Development Dept re Generics gone sky hi!

Filenes basement is the best!!!! Check out this bright yellow dress for a happiness 'charge'!
Filenes basement is the best!!!! Check out this bright yellow dress for a happiness ‘charge’!

 

 

2-21-2016

Dear Dr. Conte,

(Head of FDA’s Orphan Drug Development Department)

 

I’ve been trying to reach you and am getting tired of my envelopes being returned with a handwritten ‘not us’ on them. Obviously you are somewhere at the FDA as the head of ‘Orphan Drug Development Department.’ So I’m trying again and am not likely to go away.

Recently my Tardive Dyskinesia medicine went up from 2.65 a month to 300.00. Naturally it was dropped by my part D formulary, who gave me no advance notice. I found out at the pharmacy, out of medication for this horrible condition and out of the new cash price.

I’m pretty sure it was reclassified ‘Orphan.’ I watched your video on your role in Orphan Drug Development, and was puzzled you only mentioned ‘new’ drugs, which we know from Valeant and Turing’s antics, is not so. Older drugs are being given this status.

I’m a writer for the Huffington Post ‘Stronger Together,” “The Arizona Republic” “Bipolar Magazine” and other publications concerned with this issue.

I tried to find out if consumers could view a list of pending applications for ‘Orphan’ status and came across document “Title 21” section 316.50 which said that The FDA does not make that information public. If consumers were able to follow market conditions affecting their medication as well as how many manufacturers there are along with mergers and acquisitions, this would be closer to a level playing field for the consumers.

I’m not out to skewer you or make you look inept, I just want to know if you are considering making certain helpful info available to the public so we aren’t the last to know about factors that greatly influence our health. If we knew in advance, for example, we could apply for Drug Company Assistance!

Please call me at 954-922-4310 or have one of your staff do the same. I’d love to get a quote on record and Maryland is very far from Florida. But I would be willing to make the trip just to ask you a few questions.

I’m only trying to calm consumers who currently are rather alarmed at the FDA ‘Orphan Drug Development’s’ lack of transparency.

 

Sincerely,

 

Allison Strong

Hollywood Florida

 

Shaking, rattling and Rolling Executives at FDA’s Orphan Development Dept re Generics gone sky hi!

Filenes basement is the best!!!! Check out this bright yellow dress for a happiness 'charge'!
Filenes basement is the best!!!! Check out this bright yellow dress for a happiness ‘charge’!

 

 

2-21-2016

Dear Dr. Conte,

(Head of FDA’s Orphan Drug Development Department)

 

I’ve been trying to reach you and am getting tired of my envelopes being returned with a handwritten ‘not us’ on them. Obviously you are somewhere at the FDA as the head of ‘Orphan Drug Development Department.’ So I’m trying again and am not likely to go away.

Recently my Tardive Dyskinesia medicine went up from 2.65 a month to 300.00. Naturally it was dropped by my part D formulary, who gave me no advance notice. I found out at the pharmacy, out of medication for this horrible condition and out of the new cash price.

I’m pretty sure it was reclassified ‘Orphan.’ I watched your video on your role in Orphan Drug Development, and was puzzled you only mentioned ‘new’ drugs, which we know from Valeant and Turing’s antics, is not so. Older drugs are being given this status.

I’m a writer for the Huffington Post ‘Stronger Together,” “The Arizona Republic” “Bipolar Magazine” and other publications concerned with this issue.

I tried to find out if consumers could view a list of pending applications for ‘Orphan’ status and came across document “Title 21” section 316.50 which said that The FDA does not make that information public. If consumers were able to follow market conditions affecting their medication as well as how many manufacturers there are along with mergers and acquisitions, this would be closer to a level playing field for the consumers.

I’m not out to skewer you or make you look inept, I just want to know if you are considering making certain helpful info available to the public so we aren’t the last to know about factors that greatly influence our health. If we knew in advance, for example, we could apply for Drug Company Assistance!

Please call me at 954-922-4310 or have one of your staff do the same. I’d love to get a quote on record and Maryland is very far from Florida. But I would be willing to make the trip just to ask you a few questions.

I’m only trying to calm consumers who currently are rather alarmed at the FDA ‘Orphan Drug Development’s’ lack of transparency.

 

Sincerely,

 

Allison Strong

Hollywood Florida

 

Valentine’s Day and My Wonderful Man Michael

CHURCH DATE

 

Not a huge valentine’s day person but just finished up a piece on being in a relationship with another person w/bipolar disorder and mistakes I would never make again. One relationship was with another person Dually Diagnosed like I am. And he refused psych meds, which I (unbelievably), let slide!!!

 

I wanted to jump from my 12th story balcony but he actually tried to.

 

Then I met Michael. We were all in AA at the time and Michael walked up to Paul and said, “I’m with Allison Now, and we’d appreciate it if you didn’t bother her anymore.” And that night, two years after Paul had tried to jump off my balcony, he overdosed on Xanax and had to go to the hospital again. I’ve been with Michael now for 17 years. I can’t imagine a life without him. I love him so much. He’s my other half, my better half. I don’t know what I would do without him. Here is a photo of us, back when I had money to have my hair cut regularly, and back when I also was struggling with antipsychotic weight gain. I’m skinny now but not any happier than when I had the dough and a doughier body. Michael, this one is for you! I love you forever. Allison Biszantz (aka bipolar brainiac or Allison Strong)