October 09, 2010

GelClair update

After spending an hour on the telephone yesterday with various health insurance folks, I got good news about GelClair to treat my mouth sores.

Early in the day I sent an email to GelClair's manufacturer, EKR Therapeutics, asking about the problem of getting GelClair locally. I received a reply from Carol Shanik at EKR's Medical Information Services that "GelClair is still being manufactured and is available, however, some wholesalers do not stock it and tell their customers, incorrectly, that it is no longer available." She then provided me with contact information for Diplomat Pharmacy in Flint, MI, which does stock GelClair and will dispense it with a physician's prescription.

The two local pharmacies I contacted to get GelClair both use the same wholesaler, McKesson. One pharmacist asked their McKesson representative why McKesson no longer carries GelClair and was told that GelClair's manufacturer ships product too close to the expiration date.

I then called Diplomat Pharmacy and yes, they would be happy to provide me with GelClair. Of course, I had to contact my new health insurance company, Premera Blue Cross, to determine if Diplomat Pharmacy is on their list of preferred providers. Yes, they were -- but I also learned that Premera has a mail-order pharmacy (Medco) that stocks GelClair. They would ship me a 30 day supply for the same co-pay as if I had a smaller quantity prescription filled locally. 

Saving money is a no-brainer, and I go through three packets of GelClair daily while my mouth is troublesome. The usual quantity filled, a box of fifteen packets, only lasts five days!  So I called Dr G's office to have a new prescription faxed to Medco for the larger quantity of GelClair. It should be here in a few days.

Then I decided to call Premera to get the details on our new health insurance. I spoke with a wonderful representative who answered all my questions and was so helpful that I asked to commend her to her supervisor. Maybe this switch to Premera, even though it is costing us $150 more per month, and charges me 20% of the costs of chemotherapy (to a maximum of $1375 per calendar year), will be good in the long run.

After spending all this time on the phone, who should call but Carol Shanik of EKR Therapeutics? She wanted to be sure I could get the GelClair I needed. I checked the expiration date on my last packet of GelClair (February 2011, not exactly around the corner) and Carol told me that many wholesalers prefer to receive product with an expiration date of later than six months.

I was impressed by the excellent customer service I received yesterday, even though I had to spend more than an hour on the telephone straightening everything out. I will post again when the GelClair arrives.

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