November 8, 2012

Responsible Blogging for IVF Patients: Be Aware of Scams and Unethical Bloggers!

Unlike professional scientific journals that publish peer reviewed studies or journalists who publish articles with reliable sources for information, “bloggers” can write about topics and make claims that can go unchecked, unreferenced, and can be misleading. Surprisingly, some information pushed out by bloggers via social media can even suggest unethical and unsafe practices. Recently, the topic of “Free IVF Meds” was discussed by a website (now defunct) created by Ken Abbott and Abbott Systems. This blog by Mr. Abbott suggests that patients can obtain free fertility medications from IVF clinics that have accepted “donated” medications from existing patients that no longer need their unused medications.

Unfortunately, what Mr. Abbott suggests does not occur at ethical IVF centers and most importantly, he is suggesting patients accept and administer unused medications and this could impact treatment success. First of all, if an IVF center knowingly accepts unused medications from a patient whose insurance paid for their drugs; this is considered insurance fraud and illegal. Putting aside any legal concerns, there is a bigger issue that patients need to consider…safety and efficacy. Several of the most common and important fertility medications are produced by drug manufacturers as liquid formulations that come in pre-filled pens, syringes or cartridges. These liquid formulations are stable, safe and efficacious until the labeled and approved expiration date which is dependent upon proper storage conditions. For example, liquid formations are especially sensitive to extreme temperature changes and light conditions. If medications are not stored properly, the potency and effectiveness of the medication can be compromised, resulting in poor ovarian stimulation which can ultimately compromise clinical outcomes. The team at the Fertility Centers of New England can not stress enough how important it is for patients to not accept donated medications and our team does not condone the practice of IVF Centers accepting unused medication and using those medications for new patients.

At the Fertility Centers of New England , we understand that fertility medications can be expensive. Our physicians strive to use the lowest amount of medication necessary to achieve the best clinical outcomes…this, in turn, helps to keep the cost low. Our center also partners with fertility pharmacies and drug manufacturers to take advantage of special pricing, drug samples (which are legal for IVF centers to use and approved by the FDA) and other programs that offer free medications based on financial need, such as the Compassionate Care program from EMD Serono, Inc. Contact our team to learn more about our center, treatment options and our programs to keep cost low and increase access to care. The Fertility Centers of New England, Where Care Centers on You.

 

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Brian E.

Brian E. Miller, Ph.D.