I Won’t Go Into Debt Even Though I Can’t Otherwise Afford My “Wonder Drug”
President Trump recently addressed his plan to reduce the high cost of prescription drugs, a major priority of his and HHS Secretary Azar. This is one of a series of blogs by Americans who have been challenged by expensive medications.
I worked for an insurance company until I retired a year ago, and I was still stunned by the high cost of a prescription drug I was taking to control the pain and reduce the outbreaks of plaque psoriasis.
It’s a nasty genetic condition that leads to deep, itchy, painful sores on my skin. I had been taking a “wonder” drug for five years that was basically paid for by health insurance through my employer and a copay assistance company. My copay was only $5 a month.
But when I retired and went on Medicare and a supplemental plan, I learned that my drug is on a tier where I would have to pay 33 percent of the cost. I was told that I didn’t qualify for copay assistance. Basically, it was going to cost me about $7,200 a year. I have only about $18,000 in savings and my Social Security and small pension come to less than $24,300 a year. You can see there’s not much there to live on, so I stopped taking my prescription. It was going to quickly drain my savings.
Now I do the best I can with a prescribed topical ointment for sores on my body and a cream for my face.
It’s not fair. I’m basically healthy. I eat healthy. I live healthy. I didn’t even draw my Social Security until I was 65 and then I worked another 10 years, paying into it. I saved the government money. Yet I’m feeling like I’m being punished.
It’s not right in this country that I would have to beggar myself. I’ve done my part and my country is not doing enough. I will not sell my house to pay for this medication. I’m leaving my house to my two sons. And it’s not like I can go back to work to pay for the medication—I’m 76, who’s going to hire me? I’ll just sit here and suffer if I have to.
The whole government has to get together and do something for the people it serves. For my part, I’m volunteering with a patient advocacy group that’s fighting for lower prescription drug prices. I don’t get paid, but it gives me something to do with my time to help myself and others.
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