MICHIGAN— Patients For Affordable Drugs Now kicks off a campaign today thanking Reps. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), Andy Levin (MI-09), and Haley Stevens (MI-11) for supporting H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, a package of drug pricing reforms that includes allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prices for Michiganders. The campaign includes TV and digital ads as well as grassroots advocacy, in which constituents will contact Reps. Slotkin, Levin, and Stevens to thank them for fighting for patients. The campaign comes after Big Pharma launched attack ads loaded with lies, pressuring representatives not to support H.R. 3.
“Big Pharma is trying to get Reps. Slotkin, Levin, and Stevens to bow to its power with lies and fear-mongering. But they are standing strong to win reforms that will lower the outrageous prices of prescription drugs,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Thanks to Reps. Slotkin, Levin, and Stevens’ leadership, we can pass H.R. 3 to ensure we get affordable medicines we need now and innovation for the future.”
The campaign features ads highlighting patient advocate Marcus LaCour, who lives with type 1 diabetes. The ads will run on a combination of TV and digital platforms in MI-08 and MI-11.
You can watch the ad in MI-08 here.
You can watch the ad in MI-11 here.
“I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 15 years old. Because insulin is so expensive, I’ve had to skip and ration my doses. My wife has had to skip meals so that we could afford the insulin that I needed to survive,” LaCour, a Cincinnati husband, father, minister, and drug affordability advocate says in the video ad. “No family should have to make that decision. For millions of Americans, it’s serious enough that we need help.”
Digital ads will run in MI-09 thanking Rep. Levin for supporting Medicare negotiation.
H.R. 3 was recently reintroduced in the House of Representatives. The chamber passed the bill in the 116th Congress. H.R. 3 is a comprehensive bill that will lower prices, rein in price gouging, and reduce out-of-pocket costs by restoring balance to the U.S. drug pricing system to ensure both innovation and affordability.
The Michigan campaign is part of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now’s seven-figure national campaign launching in 42 House districts across 22 states and in D.C.
My name is Denise and I’m from Ludington, Michigan. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1995, and ever since I’ve been trying to figure out how to pay for all the medications I have to use to control the condition.
The first medication I tried was metformin, but in 2010, my blood sugar levels got to a point where I had to switch to Lantus. Though Lantus was working well for me, it wasn’t covered under my Medicare plan, so I was put on Novolin and an oral gliclazide.
A few years ago, my doctor wanted me to try Trulicity. It was incredible for my health — my blood sugar levels were always stable and within normal range. I could get up and do the things I wanted, and eating something sweet wouldn’t result in a spike.
However, Trulicity was more than I could afford. A month’s supply cost around $250, and it eventually threw me into the Medicare donut hole. I began relying on the Trulicity samples that the manufacturer sent to my doctor. But since the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been far fewer shipments of samples, and I haven’t been able to access Trulicity for months now.
Coming off of Trulicity has been so difficult — I gained 25 pounds in one month and felt hungry all the time. I’m back on Novolin and am still taking the gliclazide. While it costs just $50 a month now, it’s much harder to manage my diabetes. I struggle with my diet and the fluctuations in my blood sugar levels. It feels like my diabetic neuropathy has gotten worse — my legs and feet feel numb more often, and I’ve lost my balance and fallen a few times.
I get depressed because I can’t do the things I used to, and my life a year ago when I was taking Trulicity is so different from my life today. It’s hard to keep up with my grandkids because I can’t feel my feet, and the numbness in my body affects everything. I used to be very active and loved dancing and swimming, but now I can barely go up and down the stairs. When I go to the bathroom, I have to make sure my feet are planted before I take a step and map out everything I can hang onto.
If it weren’t for the cost, I would switch back to Trulicity in a heartbeat. But it’s hard to justify paying so much for one drug when my husband and I have to think about all the other medications we need as well, including those for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, restless leg syndrome, and seizure prevention.
I was a nurse for decades before retirement, and now I can’t access the drugs that I used to help provide for my patients. A few times, my husband and I couldn’t afford our groceries, and we had to go to the food bank in order to pay for our medications.
It’s hard to believe that with all of the advances in medicine, I still have to think about what I can and can’t afford instead of taking what works best. It seems like these medical advances are really for just the few — and Washington isn’t doing anything to help people like me.