The latest edition of NPR’s ongoing series, The View From Black America, focuses on Americans who live within fear of financial disaster due to high drug costs. In fact, one in four African-Americans struggle to afford medication, according to a national poll conducted by NPR, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health.
Mike Jackson is one of the millions of Americans whose response to high drug prices was to scale back his medication (in his case, insulin). Mr. Jackson stated, “Instead of taking 60 units twice a day, I was taking 30 units twice a day….The idea behind that was if I watched what I would eat and then stay with the 30 units — I would keep my blood sugar down enough that hopefully it would not be much of a problem.” His medication cost almost $500 per month.
Mr. Jackson ended up with numbness in his foot and toes, and nerve damage in his eyes, sure signs that his diabetes had gone out of control. A trip to the ophthalmologist only added to his medical bills.
Ashley Liggins had to choose whether to purchase food, gas, or medication to control her blood pressure. When the choice comes between medicine and other essentials, like food for your family, sometimes expensive medicine may be the first to go. And this this was the decision made by Ms. Liggins, leading her to reduce doses and borrow pills from her mother.
We will continue do document cases of Americans getting sicker due to high drug prices. To take action on bringing down drug prices consider joining RxRights.org.
To listen to the NPR segment, click here.