My name is Terry Sissel, and I am a mother and a retired nurse. Last year, the prescription I use to manage my diabetes, Levemir, cost me over $3,000 out of pocket.
I am on Social Security, Medicare, and supplemental plans for Medicare Part B and prescription drugs. My income on Social Security is limited, and a lot of it was going toward affording the drugs that keep me alive. Fortunately I have recently been able to switch from Levemir to an oral medication, which costs me less out of pocket.
Though I am fortunate to be able to switch from the injectable to the oral medication, the financial worry of having to go back on Levemir never leaves my mind –– and not everyone is lucky enough to be able to switch medications when one is too expensive. Even with this switch, the cost of some of my oral medications is still outrageous. One drug that I am on, Farxiga, is listed at $491.41 per month, a 58% price increase since it came to market in 2014.
I am more fortunate than most, but spending over $3,000 a year on prescription medications was a huge financial burden, and that burden remains heavy in my mind. To afford these drugs I had to cut the number of trips I took to visit my daughter and her family. I never take vacations for leisure and I have no wiggle room in my budget. I’m living as frugally as I can and I’m still struggling because of drug prices.
The stress and worry of managing an illness is enough of a burden alone –– no one should have to worry about the financial implications on top of that. The cost of prescription drugs is too high and it is time for real change.