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IVF Meds...clinic won't accept the likes of Asda

(37 Posts)
Darkchoc Sat 07-Mar-15 13:07:38

Hi all,

I start my first cycle of IVF next month, self-funding. I am horrified at the price of the drugs alone and my consultant has stated categorically that he won't accept any drugs bought from Asda as they basically can't trust the quality. I'm no idiot and know the pharmaceutical controls in the UK are pretty high. I sense the clinic is just trying to rake in extra cash, which for me will come in at approx £1400 and will limit my ability to do an extra round of IVF if first cycle fails!!

He also said my GP will be highly reluctant to do the prescription.

Any advice out there?

haggardoldwitch Sat 07-Mar-15 17:30:06

I didn't want to leave your post unanswered.
Have you been given a prescription? My understanding is that you can get the drugs wherever you want. Asda pharmacy will have the same quality controls as Boots or Lloyds.
If the Consultant is suggesting you only get them from the clinic I would be suspicious.
I'd have a chat with your GP for suggestions.

Good luck.

expatinscotland Sat 07-Mar-15 17:46:08

Sounds like a scam to get you to buy from them.

Pipbin Sat 07-Mar-15 17:52:35

Surely if they are branded drugs then they won't be any different no matter where they are bought from.
Kellogg's cornflakes are the same if you buy them from Asda or Harrods.

This is a problem though. Robert Winston was talking about this on the radio a while ago.

Gileswithachainsaw Sat 07-Mar-15 17:57:47

drugs are drugs aren't they?

Surely the active ingredients are the same wherever you get them. branded are often no better than own versions.

does sound like it's a scam to get you to buy from him.

Lauren83 Sat 07-Mar-15 18:53:48

This is rubbish, my clinic (Care) are giving me a prescription so I can source my Gestone and Clexane myself and agreed Asda was best bet. They did the initial order but if bfp im on for 12 weeks and they said they can deliver me more or give me the script to go elsewhere

minibmw2010 Sat 07-Mar-15 19:53:15

That's outrageous and completely false. GonalF is GonalF, there's not an Asda v Lidl version. He has an obligation to give you a prescription, what you do after that is your business. For info, I used Asda and my clinic knew and were happy with it.

Darkchoc Sat 07-Mar-15 21:13:59

...yip, I'm no pharmacist, but...!

A categorical refusal to accept drugs from Asda. He said it was the policy of the clinic. He also said that if my GP agreed to pay for the drugs - he said unlikely - but in the unlikely event that they did, that he (my fertility clinic) would still supply all the drugs and then later bill my GP. Complete reluctance to hand me the prescription, even though one of the drugs alone is £1200 and that's without the other ones on top.

I'm so pleased Lauren83 that you're being given a prescription to source your own. After everyone's feedback, I'll be demanding a copy of my prescription or I'll be sourcing another clinic.

minibmw2010 Sat 07-Mar-15 21:27:12

You need to start mentioning ethics and how you feel that they aren't following any etc. are you set with this clinic, I really think it'd be worth looking elsewhere. The whole 'billing your GP' is nonsense. Your private, this is nothing to do with your GP!

Lauren83 Sun 08-Mar-15 15:09:51

Also like mentioned your gp isn't involved? When he says the gp would be reluctant? What clinic is it? I work on a big fertility forum and if you can say where it is I will ask around if this has happened to anyone else

BatteryPoweredHen Sun 08-Mar-15 21:35:35

Name & shame OP, that is terrible practice!

(You wouldn't have received such shoddy treatment at the Lister wink )

OliviaRinHerts Sun 08-Mar-15 21:40:04

I used a clinic in London for
Ivf but got my meds from A variety of places ( Alis pharmacy in shadwell, Asda, healthcare at home )

I saved over £1000 for the drugs and just did a table of what I needed and who charged what as different places charged so differently for the the same drug

Paid you need more info but my clinic. (Crgh) were ok if I needed to split my prescription

Good luck!

Turquoisetamborine Sun 08-Mar-15 21:47:46

My clinic refused to issue me with a prescription too. My first round was at an NHS clinic but self funded and the drugs from the hospital pharmacy only came to about £600.
Second round was private and I stopped counting the cost at £1000 then as we were successful I had to fund cyclogest til I was 12 weeks too. The clinic charged me £45 pw but a sympathetic GP gave me a script in the end so it came to £150 for the last 6 weeks.
It's a rip off!

minibmw2010 Mon 09-Mar-15 09:31:18

I just don't understand how clinics can refuse to issue prescriptions when you're self funding, it genuinely makes no sense to me. Makes me very grateful my clinic didn't argue.

BadgerFace Mon 09-Mar-15 17:35:11

That seems a very odd practice to me. I have bought my drugs for my self-funding cycle from Sainsburys (who have been very helpful). My clinic just give me a private prescription every time I need some more drugs.

I second mini's suggestion to ask them about their ethics. Have you paid a deposit? I'd be looking for another clinic if I were you if possible as it sounds like they are out to maximise their returns with some questionable practices!

Darkchoc Tue 10-Mar-15 12:29:11

Batterpoweredhen, I would name and shame in an instant if I thought someone from the clinic would not read it and it would not influence my treatment/care, should I stay with them. Also annoying to read Turquoise has experienced the same.

Purplemeggie kindly posted on another thread (anyone starting IVF soon) the HFEA Guidance which clearly demonstrate that a clinic cannot withhold a prescription or indeed influence pharmacy choice. Good to know this. I will be using the 'educated' approach...of 'hey have you seen these guidelines.'

OliviaRinHerts wow to save over a £1000 just goes to show why we need our prescriptions in order to save money and let's be frank, it's about saving a lot of money, which is better in our own pockets and could potentially go towards funding a subsequent cycle of IVF, which costs an arm and a leg.

Darkchoc Mon 16-Mar-15 13:21:40

Ok, an update. I waited all last week for my fertility clinic to phone me to confirm the release of my prescription. That call never arrived, even though I called them a further two times to chase the issue. Today, a woman from the finance department called me and refused to give me my prescription, using all emotive language, such as you need the best drugs to create an embryo and we won't accept drugs bought anywhere else, like off the internet. I made it known I would be using a pharmacy and that uk drug standards are high and they would be the same drugs. I mentioned the HFEA Guidelines on prescriptions and that they had a duty to release my prescription. Still refusing to co-operate, saying it is not hospital policy and that their business manager will call me tomorrow.....

I now feel devastated. No prescription and her comments made me feel as though I am trying to scrimp and save, which will prevent me from getting pregnant.

Am I being crazy for wanting to source my own drugs?

mrswishywashy Mon 16-Mar-15 18:27:19

You're not been crazy and if you feel the strength I'd either fight it or move clinic.

My clinic when I did ivf actually recommended asda to me and healthcare at home, saying that they couldn't match the price. My drugs have come to around £1800 and I'm still taking Cyclogest now. Them clinic has been more than happy to write separate prescriptions. Also as I ended up needing more drugs while stimming then I got them from clinic instead of having to rush to asda. Also got some from llyods as well. Very wrong of the clinic not to let you choose where to buy the drugs.

LollieLoves Mon 16-Mar-15 23:17:34

I am disgusted that they are treating you like this and putting you through extra, unnecessary, stress just when you don't need it. You will NOT be putting your treatment at risk by sourcing drugs at other reputable UK pharmacies. YOU are the customer here. You are paying them shedloads for treatment and you are perfectly within your rights to source your own drugs, that YOU (not them) will be taking.

I had treatment at the Lister, and they wouldn't dream of treating any of their patients like this. It sounds like a racket to me. Totally get why you don't want to name and shame at this point, but please do once you are discharged. Others need to know so they can weigh up that info when choosing clinics.

Wishing you luck tomorrow and also for the treatment.

OliviaRinHerts Tue 17-Mar-15 05:45:10

Dark choc- are you having treatment in London or elsewhere?

Might be worth calling HEFA.... They may be able to suggest something or give advice

Duckdeamon Tue 17-Mar-15 06:16:44

Am sorry you are being treated like this. Are you sure you wish to continue with them?

Ask for the "policy" in writing. And once you no longer being treated there, please report them to HFEA.

Moreisnnogedag Tue 17-Mar-15 06:40:31

That's appalling behaviour and to imply that you are adversely affecting your chances of falling of is abhorrent.

I'd honestly look at a new clinic, but write a formal letter asking them for clarification of their policy, outline the hfea guidelines as well as your 'disappointment' in the way you are spoken to.

Fwiw, of course you're not wrong to try and source your own meds. There is not one iota of difference between drugs bought in any reputable pharmacy here in the uk (t'internet is obviously a different story). Each place just has different buying power and profit margins that's all. I'd imagine your clinics profit margins are rather on the inflated side.

Persipan Tue 17-Mar-15 06:58:37

What this comes down to is, all the asshattery you're getting from this clinic (which is a fair bit, when you add up this and the random charge for using donor sperm) is making you not like or trust them. The fact that you feel your treatment would be compromised if you were seen to be complaining about them... I do think it may be time to look elsewhere. The odds of treatment working are not that high to begin with, but if your treatment at this clinic doesn't work, there's no way you won't feel that it was down to the clinic - I'm not saying your treatment won't be absolutely as it should be, but you'll always be questioning it.

And if I were you I'd complain to the clinic in writing, and copy in the HFEA.

Darkchoc Tue 17-Mar-15 20:21:08

Thanks everyone for replying. The business manager who was supposed to call me today about the prescription did not...am I surprised, no. But then again, the nurse who was supposed to call Saturday didn't call either and nor has the person who was supposed to help me with arranging the import of sperm. Just 'sh**te, sh**te, sh**te. Not only does the city where this hospital is situation, have a lousy football team, but they equally have an under par fertility clinic.

So I made some phone calls in my highly stressed state. The HFEA won't get involved until the formal complaints process with the hospital has been exhausted. I then spoke with the GMC...they referred me onto the Care Quality Commission. Had a long chat with them. I was told that unless it was a SP10 (??) prescription - meds that can only be prescribed by that hospital pharmacy, which clearly my drugs are not, then the hospital's refusal to give me the prescription is indeed a breach of some guidelines. I need to make a complaint with the CQC for an inspector to contact the hospital.

The fact that it was some non-medical bloody woman from finance who called me to lay on treacle thick emotional pressure about my embryos not growing without their drugs, is still ringing painfully loud in my ears. My consultant and his PA did not have the decency to make the call themselves. Simply appalling.

Needless to say I am jumping ship and I will be submitting formal complaints. Not only am I stressed but I feel incredibly sad and angry. I now have to folk out £60 to receive a copy of my medical notes, which will take 3 weeks to arrive...I was supposed to be starting my first IVF cycle next month, bearing in mind this had already been delayed due to shite consultation in February. Now it looks as though I won't get started until May even June at the earliest....ever closer to my 42nd birthday!!! I have my first consultation at a London clinic later this week, which is obviously more expense but it will be a relief to move forward.

Persipan Tue 17-Mar-15 20:36:46

Well done you. Now just concentrate on looking after yourself for the next while. Things will move forward, and in a way you're comfortable with.

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