This article was originally published in the Salt Lake City Tribune.
A Process Called Step Therapy
Gary developed excruciating pain in his shoulder and arm following a cervical disc herniation several years ago. He was athletic and otherwise in good health, but the pain is now disabling.
For years, Gary was prescribed pregabalin for this condition. It provided him substantial pain relief until he changed insurance companies. The new insurance company sent Gary and his physician a letter indicating that before they would pay for pregabalin, Gary first had to try two generic drugs that were less expensive. This meant that Gary had no choice but to endure excruciating pain, once again, so that he and his doctor could prove to his insurance company that these medications were ineffective and that he required pregabalin.