A Simple Thank You Gift

Enrique, is a 67 year old soft-spoken retired policeman. His
niece from the USA wrote to Max to ask help for her uncle who has been
diagnosed with GIST. Soon after receiving the referral from the Global office,
I called up the patient. He lives outside of Metro Manila and would take about
6 hours by bus to the city. He sounded like he was expecting a call from
someone who will help him with his treatment. I introduced myself and the
purpose of my call. Not wanting to give him false hope, I explained that Max is
not involved in the local program of Novartis. And as much as we wanted to, we
do not have funds to offer for his treatment. But I told him that I might be
able to guide him in his search for funding agencies. The old man was happy to
learn that Novartis has an access program for GIST patients. He was completely unaware
of the program. He has used up a portion of his retirement benefits to purchase
the drug prescribed by his attending physician. I advised him to go back to the
clinic and check if they have enrollment kit for NOA. He informed me a week after
that he has completed the requirements. He asked if he could drop by in the
office so I could personally review his file. Knowing the travel time from his
home to the office, I told him that he could bring his application directly to
the financial evaluators. But he begged that I check his documents first.
Everything was intact except for the pathology report. It turned out that the
test was not done and he had to wait longer for the result.
Meanwhile, he was worried that he will run out of
medication. I told him that he can apply for medical assistance to Philippine
Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). I discussed with him again the requirements and
application procedure. He was happy that his application with PCSO was approved
and he had enough drugs while waiting for NOA approval. For some reason, the processing
period turned out longer than 14-working days. The old man turned to me for
support in pushing his application with Novartis and the financial evaluator.
After many phone calls, his application has been approved under co-pay scheme.
I have made an appeal to Novartis to consider the assistance he got from PCSO
and the initial purchase the patient made as part of his contribution to the
program. Upon their advice, I asked the patient to submit the necessary proof
of purchase. The patient was extremely happy as this would mean a lot of
savings for him.
Enrique’s case is a typical help application that reaches my
attention every now and then. His smiles and endless thank you coupled with
yellow mangoes were more than enough to remind me how lucky I am to be part of
Max team for the past 11 years.


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