It has recently been discovered that antibodies to Substance X are associated with neXt Syndrome and over the past 6 months you have discovered that you have been exhibiting 8 of the 10 symptoms of XS as described in some online medical article you read. So you go to the doctor and describe your symptoms.
Your primary doctor examines you and does not feel you have XS. On your insistence they refer you to an XS specialist. The specialist is skeptical of you having the condition, but on your insistence orders up the XSA test for antibodies. There are actually two tests available, one of which is recognized by the "establishment", costs 4X as much as the other, but is partially covered by most insurance plans, including yours. Still, the copay will be more than the cost of the other test. This test is not considered reliable and as such is not covered by most insurance plans, including yours. In the end your doctor recommends you go with Test B as it will save you money. He neglects to divulge his relationship with B-labs who compensate him for his referrals. Further, though he mentions the more accurate test, he downplays the differences and makes it appear that the cost of the first test is mostly inflated because it was developed by a large testing company who are keeping costs artificially high through a monopoly of sorts.
So you opt for Test B and are happy with your decision as it costs you less out of pocket and you feel better about supporting the up-and-coming lab testing outfit with your business. As you are sitting in the waiting room to discuss the results you notice a bank of pamphlets about XS on the wall and a big poster with puppies and kittens on the wall advertising the latest XS Miracle Pill. You are finally taken in to see the doctor and informed that the results came back inconclusive. The doctor explains that sometimes Test B doesn't detect all of the antibodies to X and that you could have XS despite an inconclusive or even a negative test. Would the other test have been better? The doc hems and haws and sort of acknowledges that yes, it is superior, but brushes this quickly aside. So what to do? Well, the doc says he can order up Test A for you and you agree. Only on review of your records and in light of the inconclusive Test B results, your insurance carrier denies coverage. You explain to the doc that you can't afford that test and ask what he can do for you.
The doctor says he can't be sure you have XS, but in his experience with patients, he is almost sure that you have a difficult to detect form that still almost always responds to treatment. He then goes through the options with you. First there is Generic D. This is a drug that has been used for decades for other illnesses and has a great safety record. It's even available on WalMart's $4/month list! The newfangled drug in the XSMP you saw all the ads for in the waiting room is actually modified GenD with a proprietary delivery formulation that has allowed for a new patent. Your doctor gives you a little XSMP kit and sample pack and a prescription for that. His rationale is that it has been touted to treat tougher cases of XS, it's not too much more expensive for you as your insurance covers it, and it might be better to just go right to the "gold label" ... you agree. He doesn't divulge a financial arrangement with the drug maker for every prescription he writes.
So you take XSMP for 6 months with a couple of follow up visits. It does not appear to be doing anything. Your doctor explains that retesting would be futile because they didn't pick up the antibodies the first time so it is impossible to say if XSMP is working or not. But you discontinue the drug and begin to look elsewhere for answers to your solution. A year later your fragrance runs out and you decide not to replace it. A little after that you notice you no longer have any of the symptoms of XS. You are cured. Meanwhile you are out about $1000 but have a couple of nifty pens and even a neat day planner.
I'm blogging a stream of thought here ... there will be one or two more posts on this ... but for now, for any interested ... what problems do you see with my scenario? Any idea where I'm going?