My name is Laurie and I’m a cervical cancer survivor from Mill Creek, WV. Radiation treatment has left me with many side effects, the worst of which is chronic diarrhea. It is horrible.
I am taking three different prescription drugs for these side effects. For nine months, I took Viberzi for chronic diarrhea, and it drastically improved my quality of life. However, my insurance stopped covering Viberzi because of the cost. I was paying around $3 a month before the price rose to $500 a month. Because of this increase, I had to switch to dicyclomine, which does not work nearly as well as Viberzi but only costs me $2.65 for a month’s worth of medication.
Even though I am taking dicyclomine, I now have to wear disposable pads whenever I leave the house, which I never had to do when I was on Viberzi. After I had a few accidents where I had to run into a store to buy new pants, I learned to carry extra disposable pads, wipes, and Pepto Bismol with me at all times.
I try not to let this stop me from going out and doing the things I want, but it’s difficult. I have to be careful with what I wear because of the disposables. Now that the weather is warming up, I would love to wear dresses, but I don’t feel comfortable in them anymore because the disposables are more discreet in pants.
I want pharmaceutical companies to remember the people who are using and paying for their medications. It’s easy for them to decide the cost of the drug if they’re not the ones using it, but there are real people like me who are struggling to pay for the medications that work best for them –– and we’re sacrificing our quality of life as a result.