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Drug Mule

Posted Sep 10 2012 6:00pm

So, remember my post about the drug called Clobazam that is the one drug that sort of kind definitely helps Sophie a bit with her seizures? If you don't, stop here and go there and catch up.

Finished? Good.

This morning I spent a good amount of time working further on this problem. The work involves phone calls, mainly -- to MediCal, to Anthem, to Rite-Aid and, finally, to a pharmacy in Vancouver that another blogger privately emailed me about as being the source for the clobazam that she'd been using. I spoke to a man I'll call Bill who was very kind, very soft-spoken, very Canadian, down to the ehs sprinkled throughout the conversation. He told me that if I were to get the drug from Canada, it would cost me $63 a month for Sophie's dosage.

$63. If you went back to my other post, you'll remember that I am currently paying $390.24 (minus $50 from a coupon that the drug company has issued me to use for 12 months, and I'm on month ten). If I did the math correctly, the price I'd pay to get the drug in Canada is 83% less than here in the USA.

Fantastic, right?

Well, it would be fantastic, except that Bill told me that AS OF FRIDAY, THIS FRIDAY, the FDA will no longer allow the Canadian pharmacy to ship the drug to the United States. Bill didn't know why, and neither do I, but I do have my suspicions (and this isn't the grassy knoll conspiracy-type suspicion).

I began to whimper a tiny bit, so Bill suggested that Vancouver is a beautiful place and really only an hour and a half from Los Angeles. He suggested that I could always hop on a plane and come up and that the pharmacy would deliver the drug to me right at the terminal because the pharmacy is right next to the airport. He told me that it's beautiful in Vancouver, that they have a world-class resort that hosted the Olympics (I knew that), and before long, I was happily chatting about Canada, making a date with him to have a drink when I traveled up to pick up Sophie's anti-epileptic.

Just kidding on the date part, but the rest is the absolute truth.

I'm  not going to use up the white space on this post to say, again, how messed up this country's healthcare situation is. What the hell is going on that I have to do all of this shit to get a drug for my daughter's seizures, a drug that is freely available in other countries at a reasonable price?

When I hung up the phone, I decided to call The Neurologist and see whether we can get a three month supply mailed out before Friday and the new law goes into effect. Then I called my local Epilepsy Foundation to tell them this absurd story and ask them whether they can help. They were interested. Then I fantasized about becoming the Erin Brockovich of Big Pharm. Then I thought about the life of a drug mule and wondered if this would be my breaking bad moment. Then I went on Cheap Flights to see how much airfare is to Vancouver. Now, I'm typing this and listening to the large plumbers in overalls installing a new water heater in my kitchen that is going to cost me $1,000 which would be 2.5 months of clobazam in the United States and 15.9 months of clobazam in Canada. I'm doing this math to be more like Bill Clinton at the DNC last week.

Are you with me? (I think that's what Clinton said, a number of times, during his speech, while crooking his long and elegant finger at me)

Are you with me?

Any thoughts for the breaking bad drug mule?
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