I have a drug problem.
I’ve been getting 3-day migraines roughly once a month for the past 15 years or so. If you do the math, that means I’ve had migraines about 10% of the time.
I only found out a year ago that they were migraines. Before that, I just thought they were bad headaches. I took a lot of over-the-counter pain meds, which had only minimal effect, and mostly I just waited for them to go away.
It’s amazing what you can learn to live with.
About a year ago my doctor gave me some free samples of Relpax. Next time I had a migraine I tried one, and I was astonished and ecstatic when it actually worked. No more three-day marathons of pain.
Sometimes it works completely, other times it works partially. Either way, it’s a dramatic improvement in my quality of life.
My doctor was able to keep me supplied with free samples until recently. The last time I saw her, she only had a sample pack of two pills. My typical migraines eat three pills over three days, so she wrote me a prescription.
Tuesday I took the second-last pill. Wednesday I took the last pill. Thursday I went to the pharmacy and learned that the cost of 12 Relpax pills is $205. Or $51 a migraine.
I left without getting the prescription filled.
At that price, I’m forced to have a conversation with myself about whether Relpax is a necessity or a luxury. Since I managed without it for all those years, maybe it’s a luxury. On the other hand, since it dramatically improves the quality of my life, maybe it’s a necessity.
You know what really burns me? My drug costs soared at the same time my income plunged. Until I got laid off in 2009, I had a drug plan I barely used because I almost never had a prescription to fill. And then, practically the minute I lost my job, I developed all these health problems and needed prescription drugs that I had to pay for myself.
I’m down to just the anti-inflammatories and anti-cancer drugs and the optional anti-migraine pills now, but it’s still expensive. I feel like I can’t really afford it, but I actually can if I must.
What happens to people who literally can’t afford their prescription medications?