Is relief in sight for Union Co. firefighter with immune disorder?

By: Mark Edwards Email
By: Mark Edwards Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- "Without treatment, his life expectancy would be markedly reduced."

Doctor Jeffry Schlactus has been treating Nick Harrell since 1992. Nick needs a drug called "Vivaglobin," and with no insurance, the out-of-pocket expense would be more than 10-thousand dollars a month. Impossible for the Harrell family to afford.

"Without this material, Nick is prone to have very severe, unusual, frequent infections and without it his life expectancy would be significantly diminished," Doctor Schlactus told WVLT.

Since being removed from his TennCare coverage, Nick only has two weeks of medicine left, so the clock is ticking.

"Is there someone I can speak with regarding a patient we are trying to get some assistance for his Vivaglobin medication?"

This may be the first step in getting Nick Harrell and his family some relief. We're faxing the pharmaceutical company directly to see what they can do about getting him his much needed medicine.

Doctor Schlactus said "Whether or not they would supply Nick product free of charge remains to be seen, and hopefully you'll be able to help and arrange that because we're talking about life and death."

The drug company is CSL Behring, which earned one-point-eight billion dollars last year. A Behring representative told Volunteer TV yesterday they can help. With the proper paperwork filled out and sent, Nick, his family and his doctor must now wait...And hope for the best.

"We can do sort of what you're doing and try to run interference and have some impact on the pharmaceutical companies and try to get coverage for people. When there's a need for those people to get treatment of some sort and yet they're caught up in the bureaucracy and can't afford getting covered, that's an exceedingly frustrating position to be in."

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