My name is Loree Ulrich and I am a 47-year-old from Saint Charles, MO.
I want to be able to help my two grown children, who each have health issues, but I have trouble because of my personal health issues. I have multiple sclerosis, a progressive illness that slowly affects your brain and bodily functions over time. To stop the progression of my illness I need a drug called Tysabri, which is manufactured by BioGen. It costs more than $13,500 a month.
I didn't have insurance for three years when I was diagnosed, and I couldn’t afford the steep price tag. This caused me great anxiety, and I saw a psychiatrist who ultimately prescribed a drug that was unaffordable to me. At this point I needed the Tysabri, Topiramate for migraines, and anxiety medication. I had to make a decision about which drug to buy, ultimately picking the Topiramate.
During the time I couldn’t take my Tysabri for the multiple sclerosis, my symptoms progressed. It is an understatement to say I desperately needed medication to find relief and be able to live my life. I worried about being able to adequately take care of my children. No mother should have to worry about that.
After a long appeals process, the drug corporation finally provided assistance for the Tysabri and I am now on it. It has helped immensely, but I do know that they may reject my application for assistance the next time I apply, so I live in fear of that day. When I stop receiving assistance, I’ll be back in the same boat that I was in a few years ago.
I want to be there for my children as they move further into adulthood. I want to be able to be active and healthy and be able to support them. But the cost of the Tysabri is unpredictable, and outrageously high, and I fear I wont be able to be there for them.
We need representatives who truly care for patients. My family is riddled with health conditions that are out of our control, and we would be helped immensely if we had legislators who cared about lowering drug prices. Claire McCaskill is one of those legislators. Her efforts to help patients have been unparalleled.