May 3, 2024 Blogs

William McMichael’s Story

Hello P4AD community! I am William McMichael III, a 71 year old retired firefighter/EMT and patient care technician from Delaware City, Delaware.

In 2006, I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (Afib), which is a type of arrhythmia or abnormal heartbeat caused by extremely fast and irregular beats from the upper chambers of the heart. In 2010 and 2021, I had my right knee replaced. In 2012, I had my right hip replaced and in 2021, I also had surgery on my left shoulder. Since then, I have been having ongoing lower back pain from sciatica and spinal stenosis and doing everything I can to avoid any additional surgeries, because believe me, I’ve had enough! 

Although all my surgeries were meant to fix ongoing issues and prevent new ones, additional and long term medications are now part of my daily routine. I am now required to take Eliquis, Atenolol, Atorvastatin, Gabapentin, Duloxetine, Potassium, Zinc, Tylenol, and Centrum vitamins. Of these drugs, Eliquis is by far the most expensive, costing me just over $1,100 annually out of pocket with Medicare insurance coverage. Meanwhile my insurance has covered the rest of my prescriptions’ list prices, for which some are not as costly as Eliquis, but the copays still add up with the cheaper and over the counter medications. 

Because of these costs, I admit that my overall health is being affected. Mentally, I am a bit depressed and worried about getting sick, despite having received all the possible COVID vaccinations, boosters, and seasonal vaccinations of common diseases/viruses. To mitigate, I, therefore, try to stay away from big group gatherings and avoid getting too close to others. Financially, it is a tough situation to navigate but I am positively supported by my Social Security income at the moment, just barely getting by with all my expenses. I, however, do not have the flexibility of financial bandwidth to assume responsibility for any unexpected costs or costs associated with unwarranted medical emergencies. 

Rarely do I travel and go out like I used to before. I have also had to resort to hiring a local friend of mine to help cut, trim, and mow my lawn in the summer and shovel away the snow in my driveway in the winter, as I physically cannot do it anymore. 

Equally as important, as people get older and the costs of living increase simultaneously, the number of trips to the doctors office increase and medications exponentially start becoming part of our required daily regimen, and costs should not prevent us from seeking treatment or recovery. That being said, I believe Americans should have access to more affordable and lower priced prescription drugs because all of us, especially seniors, need all the help we can get. Lower costs would help me enjoy my retirement a little more and would help others save or spend in other areas of their life. 



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