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Die or Go Broke Living

Updated on February 11, 2020
Dreamworker profile image

Dreamworker is a retired educator. She offers a frank reflection of the realities of living through good times and bad.

People hear horror stories all the time about those who are sick but cannot afford the medicines they need that will help them to stay alive or at least to live longer.

To most of us, it’s just a story because we are not the people impacted by this type of decision.

However, to those who are faced with it, this choice is brutal, cold, frightening and very real indeed.

I know, because recently this happened to me.

Paying for expensive medicine can be a heart wrenching thing.
Paying for expensive medicine can be a heart wrenching thing. | Source

I’m Just One

However, this is not just about me. It’s about the millions of people annually who are faced with making an impossible choice.

Die or go broke living!

Most people have families that depend on the financials they have set up that will keep them somewhat secure. When this type of choice smacks them in the face, the anger and frustration (and fear) rise to the forefront.

What is one to do?

There is no insurance that will pay the price and no fairy godmother who will wave her magic wand and make the illness subside.

If you somehow find a way to raise the funds to pay for the medications, the money you would normally use for survival will disappear.

The people you love will suffer because you got sick, you need the medicine and you are the one who is going to take all financial hope and security from their lives.

Everybody knows the villain is big pharma. They could do something about this if they wanted to…but they don’t want to.

They don’t want to cut into their profits, be forced to drive smaller cars or do without their annual trips to Paris and London. If you die, another sucker will replace you!

Shocking Facts

Good RX, a well known national discount pharmacy, did some research at the end of 2018 that deals with the problems people have paying for their medications.

They found, among other things, that more than 40% of people taking prescription drugs struggle to pay for them! We’re talking here about the day to day medications that people need, not the exceptionally overpriced ones such as those used to fight major diseases such as cancer, diabetes and others.

The report also stated that the people who were interviewed consistently stated that prices had increased in the previous year. This indicates that the situation is growing and will continue to grow worse with time.

It Gets Worse

To show you just how bad this can get, I was recently told that I have a mutated gene called BRAF that will require special treatment if I am to rid myself of a recurring benign brain tumor.

When I was told about this, I contacted the National Brain Institute and discovered that the medication that is used to treat this problem could be one of three. The cost ranged from $5000 per month to about $8,000 per month depending on which of the three doctors decided to use. The $5,000 medication was covered by my insurance, which would reduce the cost to $1450 per month (still costly).

When I met with my doctor, I got another shock. She said those were the “old” medications and that she would not use them because they weren’t powerful enough. The least costly of the new ones would be $65,000 per month. Worse yet, once I started those medicines, I could never stop them because although they would eliminate my tumor, it would likely return if I stopped the treatment!

Worse yet, the side effects were going to be horrible.

Let me add here that my tumor is not malignant, so this was not even a dedicated cancer medication!

In further discussion, the doctor said that one of the medications she might use was even more costly: $200,000 every three weeks!

Be sure to watch the video below all the way to the end. It's a huge eye opener.

Is This a Joke?

By the time I left her office I had convinced her that there was no way I could or would use this treatment.

Once I made that clear, she backed down and told me that standard radiation would take care of my problem and that she actually disagreed with the “tumor board” that had decided I would need the expensive medication.

When I met with the radiology oncologist the next day, he agreed with me, so that’s how things are going to go.

There really was no other choice, but I wondered why these doctors even suggested such a rash treatment for me. Surely they knew that an average person could never afford such a treatment and, even if he or she could, who would want to have to take a medicine for the rest of his life that would make him miserable and sick?

Every person I have shared this story with has had the same reaction, which has been “Are those people crazy?”

Are They Crazy?

That’s a good question. A better one is whether they are so blinded by the money that they have fooled themselves into thinking they are “helping” when all they actually are doing is upsetting, scaring and taking hope away from people who are sick and who need help.

It doesn’t matter whether the cost for one medication is thousands less than another because the result is the same.

It also doesn’t seem to matter whether people have good insurance or not. I have great insurance, but insurance companies will only go so far when it comes to paying for highly expensive medicines.

The same is becoming true of organizations that, in the past, have provided funds to help people with exorbitant medical expenses.

In short, the costs are getting so high that even organizations soon won’t be able to donate for certain situations.

Greed has caused Big Pharma to overprice many drugs.
Greed has caused Big Pharma to overprice many drugs. | Source

The Answer

If things continue along this same path, we will reach a point either where only the wealthiest among us will be able to afford to get the care we need, or we will have to scrap the methods we now have for helping people to be well and manage their various illnesses.

If you have never been faced with the decision of either going broke, suffering or dying, you can’t know the hopelessness and emotional pain this can bring to a person and his or her family.

There is no way to protect yourself from such a situation, and unless you are extravagantly wealthy, there’s no way to deal with it.

Such is the situation our government and our pharmaceutical companies have placed us in. None of us can escape it unless we have extremely good luck or unless we get drug companies to reduce their prices, which would be easy for them to do due to the fact that they are charging far more than what it costs them to produce the drug!

I’m lucky, in a sense, because I was able to find an alternative treatment that my insurance covers, but what if that hadn’t happened?

Do you think the costs of medications are too high?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Sondra Rochelle

Comments

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    • success79 profile image

      success79 

      3 months ago from New York

      Your article conveys important information and useful tips that highlight some real facts. It certainly brings about some awareness.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      3 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Good article. You may add a comparison among countries who provide such medication. What about the rest of the world that simply does not offer the option of medication (SE Asia, parts of Africa)?

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