My name is Vanessa Ladson and I’m from Dover, DE. I need to take 12 medications a day to manage multiple conditions, including fibromyalgia and lupus, which is an autoimmune disease where my body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue. To manage these conditions, I need the drugs Plaquenil and gabapentin. I also take an incredibly pricey medication called Eliquis, which prevents blood clots. These three key medications cost me up to $500 out-of-pocket each month. These prices create an incredible financial strain as my income from Social Security and a small retirement fund is only $2,100 a month.
My husband also lives with prostate cancer and is prescribed the drug Xtandi. He gets some assistance, but it’s horrible to think of what would happen if it were to go away.
Both of us are on Medicare. At times, it feels like I’m robbing Peter to pay Paul to afford my medications. I’ve had to ask my grown children for help in order to afford my prescriptions at times, which I hate having to do.
I have to scrimp and save to afford to eat. But I know other senior citizens who are much worse off — some are even eating cat food to be able to afford their drugs. But it’s a catch-22: If they don’t eat, they’ll die, and if they don’t have their medications, they die. My husband and I try to help by making them food when we can.
I’ve been depressed living with these physical conditions and dealing with all these high prices at the same time. Simply put, I don’t live the kind of life I want to live. With multiple conditions, I already live with uncertainty as to the type of pain I might face day to day. I should be able to afford medicines without so much worry on top of my illnesses and symptoms.
Other countries help out their seniors. As the richest country in the world, the United States should be able to take care of us. We need to let Medicare negotiate for the prices of our medications like other wealthy nations do.