March 3, 2021 Blogs

I don’t know how I will afford my medicine.

My name is Vivian and I live in Benton, Arkansas. I’m 75 years old and currently take Incruse Ellipta for my Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

COPD is a chronic disease that inflames my lungs, often making it hard to breathe. COPD often causes daily coughing and can worsen over time without treatment. When taking my prescription, most of my symptoms are greatly reduced. Unfortunately, the price of my prescription is totally unaffordable –– even with insurance.

My Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance cover most of my prescription costs, but my Incruse Ellipta prescription still costs $1,500 every month. The price of Incruse would be unaffordable for most folks, but is especially difficult to afford when my fixed Social Security income is less than its monthly cost.

I’ve luckily been able to continue taking my Incruse prescription by getting samples from my doctor and having a cousin help me out. But I shouldn’t have to rely on samples from the doctor or charity from relatives just to get the treatment I need to breathe properly.

Once I run out of the samples I have now and the boxes my cousin sent, I don’t know how I will afford my medicine. I have enough to last six months, but after that, the uncertainty terrifies me. Symbicort, another inhaler that helps with COPD, could be a cheaper option, but it still costs almost $200 –– a price I cannot afford.

Other alternatives to Incruse Ellipta are far less effective and barely have a lower price. These treatments all still cost hundreds of dollars every month. I’m left in a place where I feel like I can’t get help for anything. I either can’t afford my Incruse prescription and face worsening symptoms of my COPD, or I have to seemingly do the impossible and find a way to afford this medicine that’s priced totally out of my reach.

Patients like me shouldn’t be left in this position. We should be able to afford our medicine and not have to rely on doctors’ inconsistent supply of samples. My symptoms shouldn’t worsen just because a drug company wants to make a few extra dollars of profit off of my diagnosis. We need leaders that are going to work for patients like me and help lower the cost of prescription drugs.


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