My name is Judith Bentley, and I’m from Dallas, Oregon. In order to stay as healthy as I can, I take more than six medications, including prescriptions to treat bipolar 2 disorder, fibromyalgia, and diabetes. In 2020, the copays for my medication alone were $2,000. Maybe that’s not a lot of money for some people, but this is very unaffordable for me. For example, in July, I had to use half of my Social Security income to pay for my medications.
I live a simple life. It would bring me so much joy to be able to visit my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but I can’t afford the cost of visiting while paying for my drugs. Since I need my medication to survive, I haven’t seen them in years. As someone who is disabled, I have been using my retirement savings to help cover medical expenses. Now, at age 75, I have little savings left to cover the cost of future medical treatments and prescriptions. Just one unexpected expense , like a large car repair bill, could completely wipe out the rest of my savings.
The cost of Lantus, my diabetes medication, is especially high and really erodes my savings –– so in order to afford it, I cut down my dose. Rationing a drug like this isn’t ideal for my health. I am tolerating the lower dose so far, but I worry about the long-term consequences. I used to think that if we were really in a bind to afford my prescriptions, we could take equity out of our home. But like so many, the Great Recession knocked down our home value, and with it, that safety net.
It would be better for my health if the medication cost less and I could take my prescribed dose. Surely, the manufacturer has recovered all costs involved in creating this drug long ago, so they should be able to lower the price. The people at the top of pharmaceutical companies just keep getting richer while people like me are emotionally and financially suffering. We must lower the prices of prescription drugs.