Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Rant About the Pharmaceutical Industry

I had recently been asking my followers on Google + if they had heard anything  about a shortage of Cymbalta, the medication I am on for depression. I was out of it all last week (didn't have the money for the high co pay that may insurance charges for brand name medications).

I go my pharmacy Sunday, and all they were able to give me was a 3 day supply of it, they said they were short of it, and that more should be in the next day. I kept checking everyday to see if more was in, and each day, the answer was no. That 3 day supply ran out Tuesday, and tonight, I finally asked them what was going on, if it was a problem just with this pharmacy, or every pharmacy was struggling to get more in this area.

The answer from the pharmacy tech really made me mad, not at her, but at the company Eli Lilly, which produces it. Because their patent is about to expire on Cymbalta, and a generic will soon hit the market, they are cutting the supplies of it, because they don't want to be stuck with large stockpiles of it, that they can't sell (due to people switching to the cheaper generic).

I understand them not wanting to lose money that way, but why can't they keep up with supplies until the generic hits the market? There are people depending on this medication to keep functioning in life, and there are people far worse off than I am.
Why can't they just keep up the supply until the generic hits the market, then cut off the supply? that would ensure that people can still get it until then, and there will still be some people buying Cymbalta, some doctors don't trust generics, and will continue to prescribe it. Let the supply dwindle down by itself, if you're no longer producing it, you will gradually sell it off, then if demand starts to trickle back, then start producing it again.

I would think that would make more sense, but apparently they would rather leave me, and people far worse than I am to deal with the effects of a shortage. I can't quickly switch to another medication, right now, I'm already dealing with the headaches caused by the office of my idiot doctor, just trying to get him and his office to write the prescription for 90 days instead of 30 (same co pay, but will last longer). They said on Tuesday that that it would take 24-48 hours to process that.

I didn't expect them at all to keep their word on that at all, here I am over two days later, and they still haven't faxed it to my pharmacy, or given an explanation as to why haven't done it yet, or refused to do so. Trying to get them to change the prescription would be even more frustrating, who knows how long it would take to get an appointment, and I can't afford the leftover bills that my insurance would stick me with for the visit (I know that fact from experience, still paying down a bill from a visit in July).

It really makes me angry that Eli Lilly would put people in situations like this, with no regards to the consequences.

What if someone ends their life, or tries to because they are out of medication and can't switch to another immediately? What about the people that are going to have to take sick days from work both from the emotional and physical symptoms of their depression? Did they ever think of that when they decided to cut everyone off? No, apparently they were only thinking about money.....


  1. I've had to deal with doctor's offices quite a bit at my old job, and I've had to be on the phone a lot just to get the basics done.

    1. Offices in the medical industry are second only to government agencies in dealing with bureaucracy hell, American style.

  2. Wow, I would have expected more from the company. I know they have had to make cut backs (in some research fields), but when you are supplying necessary medicine you have to act in a humane way. I am shocked honestly.

    You should write a letter to the company, as really every voice will help. Even if it feels like you are not making a difference somewhere you will.

    1. I might try to find an e-mail address for one of their executives, don't know how much good it will do. I tried looking to see if the company had an official Twitter account, to tag them in a link to this post, that works sometimes, but they aren't on Twitter, surprisingly (maybe for this exact reason).

      I actually got a major Midwestern cable/phone company to respond to me once on Twitter when I was complaining about them sending my neighborhood enough junk mail to destroy a forest.

    2. All it takes is one person in the company to realize that the are not doing right.

      Thing is recently Eli-Lily re-opened a company that focuses on exactly these brain drugs.So they want to take is responsibly, and they need to know what is happening. Often the people with the ethics just need to put the screws on the money people.

    3. Hmm..... Might try it then. I've heard it's standard practice across the industry to short the supply right before a generic hits the market. It's an awful practice.

      Maybe someone in the company has a heart.


No spam, proselytizing, or personal attacks, such comments will never see the light of day around here.

Disagreeing with me is fine (I encourage it), but have some decency when writing your comment