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Sculptra Program: Need Advocates!


This is the third time I have posted this letter:  I do not know who keeps deleting my posts!

I am a physician and I joined this group to help me try to get help with the Galderma issue.   

20 years ago when Sculptra came to the US market, the drug companies tripled the cost as they knew despite only HIV lipodystrophy treatment approval, it would also be used for purely cosmetic purposes.  (The drug could now used be legally in the US for any purpose).  The HIV advocates effectively lobbied and got the Assistance Program started as the drug was not affordable for many!!  I hope they are still around.

I just emailed the American Academy of Dermatology and am looking for other groups to bring to attention Galderma's effective termination of the program:  Feel free to pass it on.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to bring to the attention of your organization an issue with a 20 year old program designed to provide medication namely Sculptra to treat disfiguring HIV lipodystrophy.

For nearly 20 years, the companies that held the rights to Sculptra offered the drug at no cost or reduced price to patients suffering with HIV lipodystrophy based solely on income.  An income tax return is all that was was required to establish need. 

However, recently Galderma has started a new online process which requires a letter of non-coverage from the insurance companies to offer reduced cost or no cost drug.

This new system has made it impossible to acquire the drug for patients, making Galderma's charity a farce.  We cannot meet this “letter” requirement.

1.  When we contact insurance companies to obtain a prior authorization for Sculptra, they will inform us it is not a covered service verbally only.  They will not provide the necessary letter Galderma requires.

2.  If it is a covered service, the insurance compensation is so low, we cannot provide this service.  In the past, with free to reduced cost medication based on patient income, it was possible for patients to pay simply an affordable procedure fee.

3.  If a patient has NO insurance, where would we get this letter?

My staff and myself have tried several avenues to try to overcome this “letter” requirement to no avail.

I am hoping this letter will find it way to someone in your advocacy group.who can advocate for our HIV lipodystrophy patients.  There are still patients living with the disfiguring effects of early HIV drugs.  These new Galderma requirements have in effected denied patients of a system that has been in effect for nearly 20 years.


Nelson Charlie, M.D., FAAD
Board Certified:
   American Board of Dermatology
Associate Professor of Dermatology:
   Nova Southeastern University: College of Osteopathic Medicine



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