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Author Topic: Sculptra "Re"jections  (Read 4960 times)

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Offline SirPrize

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  • Posts: 78
  • SirPrize!
Sculptra "Re"jections
« on: September 18, 2008, 02:38:17 PM »
Recently, I've looked into having these injections to correct a Grade 1-2 facial lipoatrophy.  I used the Dermik Labs Sculptra website to locate physicians within my zip code.  Most of these were Dermatologists but a couple were Plastic Surgeons.  My thinking was that a Plastic Surgeon would have more expertise in facial contouring, etc. than a dermatologist would have.   I contacted 2 of these Dermik referred physicians and the conversations were basically the same.  I let them know that I got their names from the Sculptra referral page and asked if they did, in fact, perform the injections.  Their giddy replies (the recptionist, not the doc) were Oh YES we do.  I then asked the cost and they reply; between $1,000 and $1,500 with most procedures requiring 2-4 visits.  I continue and let them know that because of my income I qualify for the free product under the Dermik patient assistance program and  inquire about the fee for the injections only!  This is where the conversation goes south!  They check with the doc's and reply; Unfortunately we do not participate in that program.  They won't even allow a scheduled appointment.  (A test on my part).

You can bet I was pissed by the brushoff.  Unless I'm wrong, Sculptra was ONLY approved by the FDA for use on people with HIV induced lipoatrophy.  Evidently, many of these physicians are working under the guise that they provide the service to HIV clients just to get access to this product.  Then they use it to fill the nasolabial folds of the rich grannies and bored housewives (the ones that already look like they've been tacked up, stretched, plumped up, and ready to pop) only to line their pockets.  I know that any product can be used "off-label" to correct deformaties from auto accidents, birth defects, etc. but I feel it is entirely a ruse for Dermik to list their names when they don't fulfill the requirements of the products intended use.

Not that I expect any action but I immediately fired off emails relaying my disappointment to Dermik and the FDA requesting that they remove the names of these physicians as referrals and look into the actual use of the product by them, respectively.  Should any of you run into this scenario I encourage you to do the same. (ACTUP)

Anyway, I do have an appointment with a dermatologist in late October that was mentioned on this board by Atlq some time ago.  I'll let you know of the results.
Due to current economic conditions, the light at the end of the tunnel has been temporarily turned off!

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Sculptra "Re"jections
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2008, 09:26:06 AM »
Good move to have sent those emails nailing those docs as failing to live up to the program. It'll be "interesting" to see what kind of response you get from both FDA and Dermik. And if it's more than the standard "we're looking into it."

Good luck with your dermatologist appointment in October. Keep us posted.

Cheers,
Andy Velez

Offline SirPrize

  • Member
  • Posts: 78
  • SirPrize!
Re: Sculptra "Re"jections
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2008, 01:14:53 PM »
Much to my astonishment, I actually received replies from BOTH Dermik and the FDA.

Dermik, via email, basically sent me numerous press releases and forms regarding the Patient Assistance Program (PAP).  A smoke screen at best.  My frustration is that plastic surgeons (at least the 2 that I contacted) are not participating in the PAP yet are able to get their hands on the product.  This means that 1) they are only offering Sculptra to HIV lipoatrophy patients that are able to pay the customary fees and the additional markup on the product OR 2) they are using the product "off-label" and are catering only to non-HIV lipoatrophy clients, a discriminatory practice and unapproved useage of the product.  These issues were not addressed by Dermik.

An employee in the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) actually replied by telephone; needless to say I was shocked.  I raised my concerns and she stated, "We are aware that physicians are using many products "off-label" but since the FDA is not an enforcement agency, our hands are tied."  She was very sympathetic and we ended the conversation with her acknowledging my frustration and wishing she could do more.
Due to current economic conditions, the light at the end of the tunnel has been temporarily turned off!

Offline allanq

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  • Posts: 691
  • still life with pills
Re: Sculptra "Re"jections
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2008, 06:51:23 PM »
My understanding is that when you use the Sculptra Patient Assistance Program, Dermik ships the product to the doctor who will be performing the procedure. Any payment that is required of you is paid to Dermik.

My guess is that the two doctors you contacted mark up the price of the Sculptra, which generates additional income over and above their inflated fees for this 20-minute procedure. When you participate in the program, the product arrives at the doctor's office pre-paid, so you would be "depriving" the doctors of their markup.

I can't say for certain that's how it works, but that's my guess as to why those doctors do not participate in the program. I got Sculptra through Dermik's PAP, and I recall that it required only a minimum amount of paperwork from the doctor performing the procedure.

I suggest looking through a gay publication from the Atlanta area to see if there are any advertisements for doctors who do facial reconstruction with Sculptra and who participate in the program.

Good luck.

Allan
« Last Edit: October 03, 2008, 09:32:22 PM by allanq »
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Offline MitchMiller

  • Member
  • Posts: 482
Re: Sculptra "Re"jections
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2008, 11:57:42 PM »
Just noticed you were from Atlanta.  I had a sculptra treatment by Dr. Cheng.  Although I paid cash, he did say most of his patients used the patient assistance program.  FYI he charged me $1500 for one treatment.

Here's his website in case you haven't tried him:
http://www.acnescars.com/html/GAAtlantaChengACN.htm

 


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