May 29, 2024 Blogs

Elizabeth Moreland’s Story

Hello P4AD community! My name is Elizabeth Moreland and I am a 26 year old engineer living in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

I have been living with non-radiographic ankylosing spondylitis for 3 years now and was diagnosed with this condition in 2022. The condition is an inflammatory disease that affects the sacroiliac joint in the lower back, in which I was diagnosed after a year of not being able to run, walk around the block, or put dishes away without pain.  

I started on the drug Cimzia and it improved my life greatly. Although my symptoms have significantly improved through the use of this drug, it is with great privilege that I am able to afford it. My employer insurance pays for most of it (70%) and a manufacturer copay program covers the rest. Certainly, a change in life circumstances for me could mean a mad scramble to ensure I am not bankrupted by the drug’s monthly retail price of $5,719.19. 

The costs associated with this condition are a significant mental drain, in addition to the mental drain of living with a chronic pain condition, especially at the beginning of my diagnosis when I had mountains of bills from trying to obtain a diagnosis. Though I am one of the lucky few who has medical costs under control at this time due to a particular set of circumstances, there is a new baseline of anxiety. This baseline anxiety sounds like “will this chronic condition get worse,” “will I stop reacting well to this medication and be forced to switch to one that my insurance may not cover,” or “will I get some new horrific disease due to a suppressed immune system from this medication.” 

In my reflection of personal sacrifices and challenges I have endured, I think it is best to explain what Cimzia has allowed me to do. Without this medication or something like it, I would not be able to do the things that I love and make life worth living: like cooking in the kitchen for hours, getting a good night’s sleep, traveling with my spouse, running and rock climbing with friends and family, and hiking mountains. Without it, I would be on the road to having my spine fuse with my vertebrae and losing my ability to walk. 

Ultimately, prescription drugs are not luxuries, though looking at the prices of my insurance claims, they sure are priced at luxury levels. Not all of them are cutting edge technology that require thousand dollar price tags. In fact, in most of the modern world, they are not priced at these levels, and the cost of my prescription is roughly 10 times less in most European countries and Canada. This is simply an inappropriate playing field for money games as people’s lives hang in the balance of the decisions made surrounding these drug prices. Everyone at all income levels deserve access to affordable prescription drugs. 

These drugs aren’t a luxury and shouldn’t be priced as such. 



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