I’m a Breast Cancer Survivor, but a Costly Drug Put My Retirement at Risk
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 all my life, becoming an executive in the U.S. chemical industry, and I saved all my life for retirement. And two years after I retired, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
As a breast cancer patient and survivor, the high out-of-pocket costs of the life-saving brand medication I needed cost me $1,000 a month in out-of-pocket costs, despite Medicare coverage. Since I live on a fixed income, the cost put my retirement at risk. I was supposed to take this drug for five years. Just imagine, it would cost me $60,000 over five years to stay healthy.
I was devastated and fearful. I was afraid I could die. I was fearful of losing my house.
Fortunately, after about a year, a generic alternative came on the market, reducing my cost to $40 a month. It was a lifesaver—both for my life and my retirement. I was thrilled.
I’m fine and healthy now and no longer on the medication. I’m cancer-free, although I’m still being monitored by my surgeon and oncologist.
Retirement is great. I read a lot. I keep abreast of politics. I’m an avid cook and like to entertain. And I enjoy my cat, Limoncello.
I’m just one person. Yet, there are countless people who face the anxiety and challenges of the high costs of drugs. It’s not an easy issue. I think there’s a delicate balance between keeping costs down and ensuring that drug innovation is robust. That’s why I’m encouraged that the issue of drug pricing is a priority for President Trump and Secretary Azar.
A Kidney Transplant and the High Cost of Drugs to Maintain It
I Won’t Go Into Debt to Afford My “Wonder Drug”