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Refinancing My Home to Pay the High Cost of a Needed Prescription Drug

Pam Holt, a retired teacher diagnosed with multiple myeloma, said she had to refinance her home to help pay for the drug she needs to maintain her health.

President Trump recently addressed his plan to reduce the high cost of prescription drugs, a major priority of his and HHS Secretary Azar. This is one of a series of blogs by Americans who have been challenged by expensive medications.

Two years ago, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer. It’s a terrible diagnosis, but I have eight grandchildren and a good life and I was going to fight. But after the blow of the diagnosis and going through a stem cell transplant and other treatment, I made the cruel discovery that the cost of the drug I had to take to maintain my health would cost me hundreds of dollars a month.

There was even a 20 percent price increase last August, and now I have to pay $640 out of pocket every month for the medication.

I’m retired as a public school teacher. I thought I had decent health insurance: Medicare and the best supplemental plan I could buy. But the wind was blown out of that.

Sadly, I had to use my credit card and ran up $10,000 in debt last year to stay alive and pay for my prescription. I had to refinance my home recently—and it was three years from being paid off.

Yet, I’m one of the lucky ones. I can take on debt and refinance my home. I’m not happy about it but I can do it. I’m really concerned because many, many other people can’t afford their drugs and there’s no avenue for them. There’s literally no way for them to pay for their medications.

This isn’t right in America. The drug companies are earning billions on the backs of sick people. There doesn’t seem to be any limitations on drug prices—this system isn’t working.

I’m not a political person, but now I have to be. Now I volunteer with an advocacy group that’s fighting for reasonable drug prices.

The government has a role to play in fixing this. Admittedly, I’m not well-versed in politics and what the President can do. But I hope he consults with HHS Secretary Azar and pulls everybody together to come up with a solution.

I’m in remission, and I want to stay that way as long as possible, and to be there for my grandchildren.

Posted In:
Drug Pricing
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