** Originally posted by PJLeary **
I just went through the entire approval process for Stelara with my insurance company and my fab Dr M. The cost to my insurance company was $21,000.00.
That means that the first year of treatment is +$100,000.00
Subsequent years cost $80,000.00
Centocor has a very nice patient assistance program that waives all co-payments for patients with any type of insurance for the first three doses. That gets the patient through the loading dose without any out of pocket cost. They also have a very generous assistance program for folks who have no insurance. There are various assistance programs available after that. Information and applications can be found here:
What I can report is that I was photographed ( at my request ) by my fab Doc M's staff before I began treatment last Tuesday afternoon. I was very easily 80%, a situation exacerbated by a current strep infection that had been diagnosed the Friday before. My fab Doc M had already started me on a course of antibiotics for the infection days before I got my first dose of Stelara.
I am continuing the course of antibiotics.
The really good news is that as we have learned from folks who posted their experiences during the trials, I can confirm it does work that quickly. On Tuesday, I had severe palmar & plantar pustuloisis, one cheek on my face covered with plaque , and 80% of my body involved with psoriasis skin disease.
Today is Friday. I began to notice serious changes in all of my psoriasis plaques 48 hours after the first injection. At 72 hours, most of my plaques are completely flat and thinned out, with the exceptions being at my extremeties.
In my usual healing pattern, my body is clearing from the torso out. That means that my face is clearing, and my hands are as well. My feet will take longer.
I am amazed at how quickly this medication is working. While the side effects of rapid clearing are not pleasant, they are easily managed with comfort medications like attarax & tramadol.
While I am so relieved to finally have treatment that is working, I am equally dismayed when considering the few patients who will be able to actually get it that really need it. I have been anxiously waiting for this to be FDA approved for 18 months, and I know that there are many others who have also come to the end of the biologic options.
Anyone who has any suggestions about how patient assistance programs can be improved, or any other related suggestions, please post here or send me an email or both.
Right now we all need to support each other as much as we can.