August 14, 2019 Blogs

AbbVie is making billions on the backs of patients.

My name is Ashley Krege. I am 35 years old and I live in Houston, TX.  I am also one of the thousands of Americans who took the world’s top-selling drug, Humira.

I took Humira to treat a chronic autoimmune condition called psoriasis, which causes pain and inflammation. After finally getting approval for the drug, I was told I would have to pay $753 a month. To say this was a financial hardship would be an understatement. The drug costs more than my car payment, my business insurance, and my food bill each month. But I made the decision to suck it up and pay because the drug worked. 

After months of successful pain and symptom management on Humira, I was informed that the drug corporation, AbbVie, raised the price. My new monthly payment was going to be almost $1,100 a month. I simply could not afford it any longer. I had to make the difficult decision to wean myself off the drug that had provided me months of relief. It was already too expensive for me at $750 per month. I couldn’t afford the 40 percent price hike.

The drug Humira is far from new –– it’s been on the market since 2002. And the price has gone up nearly 400 percent — to $5,174 per month. AbbVie is making billions on the backs of patients: $20 billion alone in global sales last year all while AbbVie has done everything in its power to block competition and keep cheaper generics off the US market. They’ve struck deals with more than a dozen companies that tried to develop biosimilars. They’ve filed 247 patent applications in order to delay competition in the U.S. for decades.

Unfortunately, my experience with Humira is not the end of my story. I had a similar experience on Enbrel, and price hikes again led to unaffordability, and I stopped taking the drug.

As a result, my symptoms came back. To give you an idea of what a full-body psoriatic flare-up feels like: imagine getting a terrible sunburn, the kind that makes your entire body feverish. Then add falling into a bed of fire ants. That is what it feels like during a flare without medication. 

Patients like me are desperate for relief from our high-cost prescription drugs, and lawmakers have the opportunity to advance legislation that curbs some of pharma’s most egregious practices. It’s time to act –– because patients like me can’t wait.


Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs.