Action News Jax Investigates a new drug that could bring relief to women

Action News at 5:30 p.m.

Local moms, struggling just to get through the day. Now, a medical breakthrough could bring relief, but it's out of reach for many.

Local mom Megan Gordon Scheuerman sat down with Action News Jax Anchor Letisha Bereola to share her experience with post-partum depression.“

“It was a shock. A major shock to the system,” said Scheuerman. "I just thought everything I had heard about motherhood and expected about motherhood was a lie."

Content Continues Below


After nearly a year of feeling hopeless Scheuermann reached her breaking point,
she shared her darkest moment.

"I thought if the car runs off the road, I’m not going to try to get out. And to not have that fight in me anymore. It was a big red light. It let me know that something was really, really, really wrong,” said Scheuerman.

Scheurerman got help, and it changed her life. Today she wants other local moms to have every opportunity to feel better.

Now, a new drug is being called a game changer for the 1 in 7 women diagnosed with PPD. But there could be barriers to care.

Download WJAX Apps

Zulresso, recently approved by the FDA, is a one-time continuous IV infusion over 60 hours, it has to be done at a medical facility.

But many fear the 2.5 day hospital stay and the $34,000 price tag will put this so called wonder drug out of reach for many struggling moms.

Licensed clinical social worker, Stephanie Jones, agrees.

“I started thinking about who could actually afford the drug that's being approved. Then I started to thinking about all of those disenfranchised populations that suffer from this diagnoses and then I became concerned,” said Jones.

Action News Jax Letisha Bereola reached out to insurance companies to see if they plan to cover Zulresso because that’s the only way most woman can afford it.

Right now, it’s unclear if and how much will be covered.

Florida Blue sent the follow statement:

"Florida Blue is currently reviewing Zulresso, a breakthrough treatment for postpartum depression, and is expected to cover its use very soon to help new moms who are affected by this mood disorder. As the medication requires a continuous infusion for 60 hours with a provider present, it is administered in a hospital setting and would therefore be covered as a hospital stay under a member's medical benefit."

Medicade sent the following statement:

"The determining factor on coverage under the drug rebate program is whether it's going to be reimbursed as part of another service or considered inpatient.  If it does meet the limiting definition, that is, it is paid for as part of bundled service and not billed separately, or is inpatient, then the drug no longer meets the COD definition and perhaps a state might choose not to cover it."

United HealthCare sent the following statement:

"When the FDA approves a new drug for use, we conduct an internal review to determine our drug coverage policy. We are in the process of reviewing brexanolone at this time."

"I’m not opposed to the drug.  I’m not opposed to the process. But I just want to make sure that it's something that's set up to benefit everyone and not just a small set of people,” said Jones.

Zulresso wasn't around when Scheuerman was suffering, but she believes its benefits could be so groundbreaking, it could change the way women are treated for PPD.

"I hope this helps people get out of their head in a way and see you know what they are working on this drug. There's nothing to be ashamed of. We can help you. And there is hope,” she said.

Continue the conversation on Facebook Live with Letisha Bereola and Stephanie Jones Friday at 10:30 a.m. Find out what resources are available to women and how we can all cope, together. ​

MOTHERHOOD: It is a miracle! We are superwomen. We can do it all. But let’s face it, when we have a newborn it can be beyond challenging. I’m inviting you to join the conversation and watch my special piece on CBS47 Action News Jax at 5:45 p.m about when it gets REALLY hard, what are we supposed to do? What kind of help can we get? New relief for our mental health is hitting the market but just how accessible is it? Watch at 5:45 and join the conversation now!

Posted by Letisha Bereola Action News Jax on Thursday, April 25, 2019