November 13, 2019 Blogs

I need this medication to live.

My name is Kathy Silva and I am a longtime resident of Rockland, Maine. You can find me in my garden most of the time, taking care of my plants and doing what I can to make my home a more beautiful place. I enjoy spending my time outside, being active, and enjoying the good health I still have –– but I do live with diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. Thankfully, my doctor has helped me find medications that help to keep the symptoms at bay. Unfortunately, my medications are typically very expensive. 

Like many Americans, I take insulin. This is a drug that has been around for decades, and it used to be only a few bucks. When I went to pick up my Lantus insulin recently, I was shocked to find that it would cost $214. Because I need this medication to live, I paid for it. I didn’t end up using it all in the month, so I asked my doctor if I could keep using it despite it’s expiration. He told me I could. So, I’ve been forced to use expired insulin because there’s no way I can afford to pay $214 again. I’ve been making a monthly vial last for two months now, all because of the cost. Diabetics like me shouldn’t have to stretch their expired insulin in order to survive.

I have applied for assistance both through my hospital and through the drug manufacturer. I was denied both times. Money is tight. I live on a fixed income. I can’t afford to pay $214 out of pocket each month for any medication. My husband has also seen costs for his insulin skyrocket –– his Invokana was recently $300 –– and so we both are looking for a remedy to sky-high drug costs. 

I want to enjoy my retirement. I want to be able to see my relatives and maybe have some money for new hobbies or experiences. But I can’t do either of those when my medication costs are so high. 

I want to be an advocate and share this experience to show others that they are not alone in this fight against high drug prices. Patient voices matter, and we should have a voice.


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