Saturday, February 8, 2014

Not Just Pissed Because It Happened To Me, or, my adventures with C. diff

I'm presently taking a medication called, Vancomycin, for my second bout of C. diff. colitis in 4 months.  I've always thought of myself as "healthier than average," however, now I find myself trying to shake a potentially chronic and debilitating illness.  It only took a second time to get me online doing some serious research. 

According to the CDC, C. diff sickens about half a million people a year in the U.S. 

"In recent years, many in the infectious disease community have seen an increase in the number of cases of people with C. difficile infection," Edward Cox, MD, MPH, of the FDA, says in a news release.  (Source:
In June, 2011, the FDA approved a drug called Dificid for the treatment of C. diff.
 "Dificid is an effective new treatment option for patients who develop Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea." (Source:
"The FDA says. The drug is the first antibiotic in nearly 30 years to be approved to fight the sometimes deadly C. diff-caused disease."
SO, WHY ISN'T THIS MEDICATION COVERED BY U.S. HEALTH INSURANCE?  (Because the insurance companies are still in charge.)

Medical treatment and hospital stays associated with C. diff cost the U.S. health care system as much as $3.8 billion a year. Also, the company says a recent survey of the incidence and severity of C. diff in U.S. hospitals found that C. diff patients had lengths of hospital stay nearly three times longer than average, with mortality rates more than four times higher than for the average person who is hospitalized. In the trials, more patients treated with Dificid were considered cured after three weeks of treatment, compared with people taking Vancomycin, the FDA says.


Yes. I'm pissed.  Why didn't I get to take the best drug out there for what I have?  Maybe not the first time, but what about the second?  But it's not just about me.  This infection is a current U.S. healthcare problem with the drug and insurance companies holding the best treatment hostage.  How will we ever eradicate this horrible (trust me!) infection when we don't have access to the best antibiotic?  I'm pissed, but not just for me.

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