Did The Ice Bucket Challenge Work?

Published June 13th, 2017 by USA Rx
Fact Checked by
Chris Riley

ALS, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive and very often fatal disease that attacks the body’s nerve cells one by one until you eventually lose your ability to move and even speak. It becomes deadly when you eventually lose your ability to breathe. However, your brain works just fine from beginning to end, leading to a situation which many have described as “a glass coffin.”

ALS affects roughly 15,000 Americans in any given year and doctors diagnose around 5,000 new cases each year. The fact that these numbers are so close together goes to show just how deadly the disease really is.

A few years back, the ALS Association started what may be the best example of viral marketing out there: the Ice Bucket Challenge. The premise is that you would call out someone to perform the challenge and the person on the receiving end would have two options: donate $100 to the ALS Association or pay $10 to the charity and have someone dump a bucket full of ice water on your head. This is because the kind of pain ALS sufferers can experience is similar to the pain of ice water suddenly hitting every nerve end at once.

Plenty of people used this as an excuse to film themselves doing something silly like dumping ice water on themselves, and since the stakes were low it let them call out their friends and family members without feeling guilty. The fad eventually reached Hollywood, resulting in some pretty entertaining videos, and several celebrities “bent” the rules to give the ALSA a large donation even after dumping the ice water over their heads.

Several years later, the fad has died the way fads do, but it seems to have brought the result the ALSA were hoping for. Recently, the FDA has approved the drug edaravone as a way to treat ALS, the first such drug approved in 22 years. The new drug isn’t a cure, but it does slow the condition down, and the fact that it came out so quickly is thanks in large part to the contributions inspired by the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Unfortunately, one thing the ALSA can’t do is set new drug prices. ALS needs constant treatment and supervision, and so a year’s supply of edaravone is expected to cos around $145,000.

Still, patients should at least be able to avoid paying the sizeable sticker price. Along with the bargaining power of insurance companies, you can also take advantage of USA Rx’s bargaining skills by picking up a free pharmacy discount card. We don’t ask for any personal information and you don’t need to give us money now or in the future, but with our card you can save up to 75 percent off prescription drugs both brand name and personal. To find out more, consider giving us a call at 888-277-3911 or else sending us an email at [email protected]

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