February 16, 2024 Blogs

4 Years Later and My Drug’s Price Keeps Rising

An update to my original blog

My name is Jacqueline Garibay and I’m a 22-year-old college student from Austin, Texas. The last time I shared my story I was 19, now three years later some changes have been made but I am still being subjected to Big Pharma’s never-ending greed.

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, an autoimmune disorder that primarily affects my spine and has spread to most of my major joints. Without expensive biologic medications, my spine could fuse and leave me unable to walk in my twenties.

I am currently prescribed Cimzia which is priced at $5,719.19 every month and has undergone a 5.9% price increase since 2023. As I graduate college this year, this is money I simply do not have. How can anyone be expected to afford medications at these prices? On top of dealing with my health, I’ve had to navigate trying five different biologics to find one that will work for me, including Humira, Enbrel, and Cosentyx, and have had to pay exorbitant prices for each of them, even when they haven’t helped my condition. Having to pay these incredibly high prices just to find out that medication doesn’t work for me is especially devastating. 

I live in a constant state of fear thinking about how I will afford my medications, my tuition, my rent, and my groceries at the same time. I’m about to graduate from George Washington University with a double major in political science and economics, but my dreams and my independence are threatened by having to constantly worry about affording my medication because I’m going to have to take an expensive biologic like Cimzia for the rest of my life. 

When I was diagnosed, my parents said that they would do whatever it takes to afford the treatment I needed, but no parent should have to have that conversation with their child. And no child should have to feel like a financial burden because of the medications they need. My condition is genetic, and there was nothing I could have done to prevent it, but now I have to live with the consequences of the pharmaceutical industry’s corporate greed for the rest of my life. 

I am thankful for the innovation of the biologics that I use to manage my AS. Without it I wouldn’t be able to do the things I love — hiking, practicing yoga, and even writing. I care deeply about future innovation — not only do I rely on my biologics to live the life that I love, but I also rely on the hope that even better biologics will be developed in the future. From experts on both sides of the aisle and evidence-based reports, I know that drug prices can come down without impacting future innovation of prescription drugs. Drugs cannot be as expensive as they are now because what benefit will new drugs have if they are too expensive for patients to access? 

I was not born with unlimited funds and I should not have to sacrifice my youth in order to afford my medication, look after my health, and plan for my future. That’s why we need drug pricing reform now.


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