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Medication commercials on television


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Commercials for medication on television has always annoyed me. As an RN, I know the cost of meds is out of control and I’m sure the marketing budget for television commercials doesn’t help the problem. Now that I am pretty sure I have NSCLC, not staged yet and pulmonary doc says not operable, I know there is a possibility that one of the advertised medications might be offered to me.  I did a quick look for one frequently advertised called Keytruda and find that the cost can be up to $7000+ a month, with Medicare part D, out of pocket is estimated at approximately $2400/month. Considering this, I would refuse these medications, as there is no guarantee that they will work but there is a guarantee that the cost will wipe out our estate. There is just no way!!!

Does anyone else find these advertisements annoying? I also feel it is an insult to consumers’ intelligence to so freely pay millions of dollars in advertising costs. 

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I agree that they are annoying and cost tons- but so does producing these trials/meds- ie the researchers and labs and testing and equipment.  

The system is definitely broken and the patients and their families pay.  The only positives I see is the awareness it brings to the disease, the conversations that patients have with their doctors because of what they learn/see from these ads and the majority of pharmaceutical companies have drug and co-pay assistance programs, grants, nonprofits who help patients obtain the drugs.

As a patient myself of a late state disease with no FDA approved treatment option- I would also be weighing the cost of the drug to my estate versus the efficacy and time that that expensive drug may give me.

Interested to hear from others on this as well- 

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Hey Isabelle-

I share your frustration too.  At the time of my diagnosis I was working for a pharmco and saw money wasted. In pharma there is definitely a different orientation to zeros but in the long term it’s worth it when there is a life saving clinical breakthrough. 

Try not to get ahead of yourself- if you do end up on one of these fancy meds, your pharmacy team will do everything possible to not drain the bank. They will obtain grants or other types of financial assistance from the manufacturers.  My PDL-1 buddy on Keytruda pays zero dollars thanks to her medical team’s research. 

Right now I obtain copay assistant for my ALK inhibitor which is $15,000 per month.  In 24 months I will transition to Medicare Part D.  Holy cow I’m dreading those days.  Since we didn’t have kids, we are going to do whatever it takes for me to have a high quality of life.  I’m only 51- with my SSD approval I can tap into my retirement savings without penalty.  

My financial planners are coming up with some strategies to help us, his memorable words were- if you don’t spend it now, your heirs will spend it later.  Sobering advice.  

You’ve got the fire in your belly to beat this beast!


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I'm on a pill form targeted drug therapy combination (Tafinlar/Mekinist) for a BRAF V600E mutation. Because these are considered to be a form of chemotherapy, there are no copays on them. Talk to your insurance provider to find out before deciding anything. A lot of drug companies also have an assistance plan as well.

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I hate those commercials.  Then again I’m not sure I enjoy any commercials.  There was a comedy skit I heard about all the symptoms the drug commercials describe.  The comedian jokes that after hearing the symptoms he’s sure he has every one of the diseases in every or of the commercials.

There may be ways you can protect your estate now.  You should consult with a financial advisor.  Don’t give up on your own recovery just because of money.  I’m sure any heirs would much rather you around then your money.  Hang in there.  You are worth the fight.  

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