These days, the question I am probably asked more than any other is, “My insurance company denied hepatitis C treatment. I heard about generic medications from India, and I am wondering what you think of them?”
Before I answer that question, I ask three questions:
- Have you filed an appeal of the denial?
- How long ago was the denial?
- Have you worked with a patient advocate?
I ask about the appeal, because many people stop after the denial, not realizing that they have a good chance of getting approved for treatment if they challenge the decision.
I ask about how long ago the denial was, because people sometimes tell me they were denied a year or two ago, and they don’t realize that many insurance companies and state Medicaid programs have become more reasonable with coverage. Just this past week, there were announcements about the states of Florida and Washington needing to change their practices regarding hep C treatment coverage.
I ask the last question because working with a patient assistance program is the easiest, most effective way to go. And, it is free. HEP has a list of programs that provide assistance. My personal favorite is the Hep C Careline at www.hepatitisc.pafcareline.org
I urge you to try to get insurance coverage for hep C treatment, rather than seek generic treatment. If everyone gave up and bought generic medications, then how would we ever change the status quo? When insurance companies have to step up and pay for expensive medications, it puts the burden on them to negotiate for affordable hepatitis C treatment. We as patients should not have to get our drugs from outside the U.S.
However, it does take perseverance. Personally, perseverance is easy with support, so if you aren’t a HEP Forum member, consider joining.
Click here to read my opinions on hepatitis C treatment using generic drugs. Warning: since I wrote that piece, many more counterfeit hep C drugs are being produced.