My name is Cheryl and I live in Maine. When my husband, Harold, was prescribed Spiriva to manage his COPD three years ago, we were grateful there was a medication that could effectively manage his symptoms and allow him to continue to work. But we were shocked when we found out the medication would cost us $1,200 every three months. We simply can’t afford that, but Harold needs the medication.
We were forced to make choices no one should ever have to make — keep paying for electricity, or pay for Harold’s medication? Buy healthy groceries, or pay for Harold’s medication? For us, there was no option. We kept paying the $1,200 and stopped paying for our electricity. We stopped buying meat and other nutritious food and stuck to canned soups and noodles, all so my husband could breathe.
We are lucky — after a year, we were able to qualify for a plan that covers much of Harold’s expenses for the Spiriva. It has meant we can return to life more or less as normal. But we are at the mercy of the assistance program and it will stop at the end of the year. That means we will be faced with applying all over again, a process that took a full year last time. Come January, we might be back where we were before — making sacrifices so Harold can breathe.
Without Spiriva, Harold would not be able to work as a farmhand growing potatoes in our home state of Maine. We would be dependent on my salary from managing a local McDonald’s. We have a good life. We like our jobs, and we are proud of our hard work. But right now we know our lives could change as soon as the financial assistance ends. I live in fear of that day.
No one should have to make the choices we have. We need drug prices to come down now.