November 10, 2020 Blogs

There was no way I could afford either prescription.

My name is Miriam Wolfe and I’m from York, Maine. I live with chronic pain because I’m unable to afford the medications I need.

Last year, I developed constant and severe pain that required analgesic suppositories to control. My doctor wrote a prescription for nifedipine and lidocaine that had to be filled at a compounding pharmacy. But at the counter, I learned that using just two suppositories a day would cost a minimum of $540 for a month’s supply. When I called my doctor asking for an alternative, she recommended hydrocortisone suppositories, which were also not covered by my insurance and would cost about $600 each month. I only receive $840 per month from Social Security — there was no way I could afford either prescription.

A woman sitting in her kitchen, smiling at the camera. She's got short hair with bangs and is wearing a striped sweater.I still haven’t been able to relieve my pain in an effective and inexpensive way. The pain comes and goes, and it can get quite intense. Even though I’m retired, I find ways to occupy my time, like going for walks in the woods and performing upkeep on my parents’ old home, but having chronic pain is a constant nuisance — it’s like trying to be productive while dealing with a headache.

It seems utterly ridiculous that a medication I need would cost nearly two-thirds of my monthly income. I was a psychiatric nurse before I retired, and I’ve seen the prices of drugs — both mine and my patients’ — rise over the years. Drugs cost as much as they do because we’re feeding the endless profits of pharma companies. I’m asking our legislators to consider whether making our citizens sicker and poorer is how we build a strong country — and what they can do to make things right.


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