Dear pharmaceutical companies
You get blamed when your products fail or cause dangerous side effects. Maligned in the press, you are accused of seeking profits before the welfare of patients. “Big pharma” is a dirty word, spewed out with contempt and derision.
What is often overlooked are the countless ways in which your products improve patient quality of life and even save lives. I owe my treatment success, in large part, to your innovative migraine treatments. Without you, my life would be a miserable lump of pain and suffering that would have likely ended in suicide long ago.
You saved my life.
New Drug Development
I will never forget the first time a migraine attack was aborted by a triptan. Within minutes, I went from agonizing pain, nausea, and photophobia to feeling perfectly fine. It was as close to a miracle that I’ve ever experienced. I cried for joy and hugged the nurse! I was 25 years old and had been treating migraine unsuccessfully for over two decades.
You gave me hope for the first time.
The development of triptans was intentionally targeted at migraine patients. Yet even when you develop drugs for other conditions, they may someday be used for migraine.
Botox was a running joke for many because of its reputation as a cosmetic treatment for the rich and vain. That all changed for me when the first round of injections knocked out 75% of my migraine attacks and put the brakes on sixteen years of cluster headache attacks.
Toradol isn't a migraine-specific drug. Yet it has never failed to stop status migrainosus each and every time. It has been so effective that my doctor prescribed it for home use to keep me out of the emergency room. I haven't needed the ER almost three years.
You changed my life!
Not all of us have been this lucky. Many of my migraine brothers and sisters still need better drugs to fight this disease. Please, please keep creating new drugs!
The U.S. government isn’t really supporting much research on headache disorders. If it wasn’t for you, we’d still be stuck with 1950-era medicine. We would have never learned that migraine isn’t a vascular disease or that there is no such thing as a “migraine personality.” Because a portion of your profits fund migraine research, you are helping to break the stigma of living with migraine by finding out the truth. Because of you, we can now say, “Migraine is a genetic, neurological condition.”
That means a lot.
Patient Assistance Programs
New drugs cost a lot of money to develop. Their retail price tag is out of reach for so many patients. Thankfully, you care enough to create programs that help the poorest of us have access to effective treatments.
When I was uninsured for years, these programs helped me to afford the one abortive that actually worked. Now, a similar program is helping to offset the high cost of Botox treatments, saving my meager SSDI benefits for other important things…like food.
Improving Patient Morale
You’ve sponsored programs like Rewrite Your Day and The Migraine Experience. While no program is perfect, your efforts demonstrate to patients that you really do care.
I was one of the recipients of Rewrite Your Day. My friends still talk about that Christmas dinner party. It was a rare treat to spend time with so many of them all at once. You gave us all the gift of quality time spent without the threat of a looming migraine.
Because of you, migraine patients are on the verge of gaining treatments exclusively designed to prevent our attacks. You are making history and giving hope to those who have had none. The anticipation is almost unbearable. There are millions of us sitting on “pins and needles” just waiting for news that one of your CGRP-blocking drugs finally has FDA approval. You are running a marathon. We cheer for every success and are anxiously waiting for you at the finish line. I promise; the celebration will be huge.
You are our heroes and our hope for a better tomorrow. Thank you for never giving up.
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?