My name is Lisa Ann Wetzel-Trainor and I’m a chronic illness writer and after school art teacher. I live in Wall, NJ with my husband, Stephen, and our three rescue dogs.
When I was 16, I experienced a trauma that left me with severe fibromyalgia and PTSD. At 19 years old, I was officially diagnosed and began taking prescription medication to manage my symptoms.
One of the medications I take, Vyvanse, has made an incredible difference in my quality of life. Because of it, I am well enough to take care of my home, engage in advocacy, and focus on my health. Without it, I am unable to write or teach due to my debilitating symptoms. Unfortunately, this relief comes with a steep price tag of over $1,000 a month. For the two years I’ve taken this medication, we’ve been able to afford it because of my husband’s insurance. But I’ve always lived in fear of what would happen if we were to lose coverage and have to pay the full cost of the drug.
This summer — in the middle of a terrifying pandemic — this fear became a reality. Due to a recent change in my husband’s employment, my family has been left without insurance for the last two months. We can’t afford any of the coverage options available to us, so we’ve been forced to pay for my prescriptions out of pocket until my husband’s new job begins.
Because of Vyvanse’s steep price, I made the difficult decision to stop taking the drug completely. There’s no generic alternative, so I’ve had to take a medication that doesn’t work as well. Even though it’s cheaper than Vyvanse, this drug is still adding $150 per month to my prescription costs.
Instead of focusing on my health during this crisis, I’ve had to worry about how I’ll cover the cost of my next prescription. And as an active member of the chronic illness community, I know my story is not unique — and I want to speak up for other patients.
We need change. Our current drug pricing system is unsustainable, and patients like me need meaningful action to lower drug prices.