Friday, May 10, 2019

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

As a three-year breast cancer survivor, I recently testified in support of the bi-partisan group of bills which address prescription drug affordability and accessibility.

Due to various side effects, there is only one drug I can tolerate that treats my specific type of cancer and I need to take it for at least five years. It started out at $789 a month. I am on year three and it’s down to $365 a month which is $12.19 per pill.  I know people in this same drug class group who are getting the same medication, same dose and everything, for $30 a month. 

My friends in other countries on the same drug cannot believe the prices we have to pay.  I’m not complaining – I’m glad I am able to afford the medication – but we need a better control system so all of us can afford these drugs that we need in order to stay healthy.  In some cases, these drugs are literally keeping us alive.

The truth is, at the end of the day we all pay, even if we have insurance. As the cost of the drugs go up, insurance pays more and eventually so do the patients by way of additional co-pays and higher premiums and deductibles. 

Pharmaceutical companies won’t help us. So, I turn to our state legislators, to stand up for Mainers everywhere and to fight these terrible costs that in some cases cost us our lives. We shouldn’t be choosing between cutting our pills in half and going without food. You know and I know that thousands of Mainers are doing just that. It is time to stop the prescription drug price-gouging and demand a better way to keep these necessary medications within reach. Please pass these bills and let’s make this difference together.

Mary Ann Cumming

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