DES MOINES, Iowa -- Pain management is a daily routine for many who suffer from endometriosis. "It is a multi-systemic disease. Tissue similar to what is found in your uterus grows all over your body," said Katie Joy Ussery who has dealt with that pain for fourteen years of her life.
In March, Ussery, from Des Moines, was suffering from ovarian cysts and sought help at the Iowa clinic OB/GYN. "I already had an established OB/GYN at that clinic that I loved. She wasn't available so the clinic gave me the next available physician."
Ussery claims that physician immediately recommended a clinical trial of Orilissa made by the company Abbvie, which she did not want to use. "I felt he became confrontational when I dared to stand my ground, advocate for myself and disagreed with his opinion," said Ussery.
After the appointment, she researched www.openpaymentsdata.cms.gov which is a public site that tracks payments from pharmaceutical companies to doctors.
Ussery said, "I found that from 2013-2017 he was paid almost $350,000 in associate research funding by that same company."
Ussery took to Twitter to post a negative review of the physician only to find out at her next appointment in April she was discharged, and unable to receive treatment from any of the Iowa Clinic physicians. "I was told I tweeted something against this physician," said Ussery.
Without any endometriosis specialists in Iowa, Katie was now blocked from receiving the vital treatment she needed from a place she had also seen as the right fit. "I feel I was punished for advocating for myself and my health care was jeopardized because I spoke out about the health care I received," Ussery said.
The Iowa Clinic responded to Ussery's claims in a statement saying, "If a physician within our OB/GYN department chooses to discharge a patient - that patient is not able to schedule with anyone else within that specialty. Our OB/GYN department has this policy because patients are shared among all partners."
With a new pain, Ussery is now looking at her legal options. "I have a feeling of betrayal, mistrust and heartache," she said.
In response to the physician receiving funds for clinical trials, The Iowa Clinic has also stated, "The Iowa Clinic embraces medical research and the role it plays in providing new treatment options for patients. The claims made by Ms. Ussery on social media regarding our participation in clinical trials for Orilissa (Elagolix) are misleading. Highly regulated industry protocols require us to identify a Principal Investigator for every study, and all financial reporting falls under his/her name. The Principal Investigator does not receive all of the funding for a clinical trial. The funding is used to cover expenses associated with that trial, and a percentage will go to the Principal Investigator for his/her work and oversight."