Fighting the ADHD devil – DAY 5 – And how the pharmaceutical industry makes things even harder

This morning before work, I had to go to the pharmacy to pick up my ADHD medication for the next 6 weeks. I think this is part of a secret ADHD therapy, making us do this so often. There are many other medications that they will give you for 3, 6 or even 12 months but for some reason the system decided to make the most forgetful people in our society have to get a new prescription every 6 weeks, and because it usually takes 3 days between asking for the prescription and being able to pick up the medication this demands a lot of planning, which off course is not my greatest strength (read: biggest weakness).

I start telling myself to get a new prescription 2 weeks before I’ll be out of pills, when I open the last box, but even though I try to think about it every day, sometimes I end up with nothing left at all and I have to either survive a few days without them, or go to the doctor and get angry at the people at the pharmacy to get them the same day, a tiring process that keeps on repeating every 6 weeks. This time I was proud of myself, when I reached the pharmacy I had still 4 pills left, I did good this time. But then something else happened that makes me extremely angry at the whole system including health insurance, pharmacies and doctors.

I take methylphenidate, a kind of Ritalin, to master the art of having ADHD. For almost 9 years I get the same brand and as long as I take them properly they work. But money becomes more and more important when it comes to health and about 2 years ago the pharmacy and health insurance decided to give me a cheaper brand of medication. At first I was ok with this, I trusted these pills would be the same as the ones I had always been taking, but after 2 months I realized I wasn’t controlling my ADHD anymore. I started wondering what had changed in my life to cause this, different diet, different schedule, exciting or bad things happening? But nothing of this had changed, the only thing that was different was the brand of medication. I started calling the doctor and after some research he told me that the two brands make two completely different pills. Yes, they both contain the same methylphenidate, but all the other stuff they put in them is completely different. And this is not just extra stuff to create the pill, it is the stuff that determines how fast the methylphenidate is transferred to my blood and in which dose, pretty important, if you ask me.

After this, and after a lot of calls with my health insurance, pharmacy and doctor we agreed I needed the other brand, and all 3 of them blocked the slightly cheaper brand in my dossier, but apparently until today. Today I could only get the cheap brand if I was not going to pay for my medication myself. The pharmacy blames the health insurance and the health insurance blames the pharmacy, and the doctor? He still puts the brand on my prescription but does not want to get involved in the discussion between the other two. I spend over two hours, complaining and getting angry, while they would just blame each other, both willing to give me the proper medication, if the other would agree first. I think it’s just a way of them to figure out who is going to pay the little extra costs for this, and we’re talking about cents here, the first one that gives is in will be responsible, and both of them want to make even more profit than last year. It’s annoying that they do this at the cause of my well being, which should be their most important value as care givers, but everything in this world is always about money.

After two hours of frustration I finally kind of changed both their no’s to a maybe and they decided to start calling each other instead of having this discussion through me. Now I’ll just have to wait until they will update me on the results, and hopefully this was all the fight I needed to get my normal medication back. It’s crazy that I have to fight for this, they should understand that if an other brand makes me crazy, they can not give that to me, I mean, besides making money they should also consider their results. Is making maybe 2 euros more in a year worth fucking up my mental state? I think the answer should be a big no.

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