The prices of hundreds of prescription drugs have risen since January, placing a heavy burden on middle-class families that struggle to afford the often lifesaving medications.
“If this really is all about bigger profits, that’s a huge problem. It should be criminal because there are people who can’t afford these drugs and have to say, ‘I can’t take this.’ That’s the reality, and it’s wrong,” said Maria Miller, whose son, Nick, depends on expensive medication to control his epileptic seizures. “There needs to be transparency about how and why these prices increase.”
The drug the Millers depend on, Aptiom, has seen its price go up 4.7% this year alone. The family has good health insurance, which reduces the out-of-pocket costs for the drug to $540 per month. Still, Miller said that price tag is hard for her family to afford.
“I don’t think people completely understand the sacrifices families have to make just to afford medications like this,” Miller said. “We are everyday people. There are savings cards you can get from the drug companies, but we don’t qualify because we are middle class and make too much money. So, we’re just expected to find a way to make things work.”
While there are cheaper options, Miller said they either don’t do enough to control her son’s seizures or come with side effects that lower his quality of life. For them, Aptiom is the only option they have regardless of how much it costs.
“It’s lifesaving. There’s nothing else you can say. These are lifesaving medications that allow my son to function and live,” Miller said. “It’s everything. This medication is everything for him.”