As anyone with a chronic illness knows far too well, the cost of drugs can be staggering. Even with excellent health insurance, co-pays and deductibles mean that one in 10 Americans are skipping doses, not filling their prescriptions at all, or are getting creative in getting their drugs, like having them filled outside the country, according a report recently released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Preventions National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). In fact, about one in every 50 American adults purchased their prescription drugs outside the United States because the costs were significantly less. "Adults who do not take prescription medication as prescribed have been shown to have poorer health status and increased emergency room use, hospitalizations and cardiovascular events," said Robin Cohen of the NCHS's Division of Health Interview Statistics which authored the report. Skipping doses has real consequences, says Lizzy Smith, a multiple myeloma survivor. Not long ago, I was at clinic and the patient next to me was there because he had stopped taking his medication because he couldnt afford it and developed a blood clot in his leg. For patients with multiple myeloma, there are resources to help with some drugs. As has been reported here at Myeloma Crowd, here are four excellent resources to help cover out-of-pocket costs. Note that in most cases, patients need not meet stringent income requirements and the application process takes just a few minutes over the phone with approval granted almost immediately. Chronic Disease Fund 877-968-7233 press option #0 www.cdfund.org Approvals are granted same-day. Patients must have medical insurance coverage, been prescribed a medication that is part of the CDF Formulary and meet program income criteria. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 877-557-2672 www.lls.org The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Co-Pay Assistance Program helps pay insurance premiums and meet co-pay obligations. It also finds additional sources of financial aid. The Co-Pay Assistance Program offers financial help toward:
For myeloma, there is up to $10,000 in assistance for those who qualify:
866-316-7263 www.panfoundation.org Up to $10,000 per year to help cover medication co-pays. To qualify, patients must meet these criteria:
about the author
Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.