My name is Leah Clark. I'm 21 years old and I'm just now starting to live on my own and try to make my mark in this world. My career and life are just starting to kick off, and I’m very excited for my future.
When I was twelve years old I became very sick, and after countless doctor visits, I was diagnosed with not only Crohn’s disease, but celiac disease and psoriasis. I’ve tried many different kinds of medications to treat my Crohn’s, including Humira, and I am currently on Remicade –– an infusion drug administered via IV.
As a college student under the age of 26, I am still on my parent's insurance plan. However, my parents have always made it very clear to me that I need to have either a job that pays very well or a job that offers insurance in order to ensure that I can afford my medication. I don't think some people realize just how frustrating it is to be on the phone with your insurance companies or pharmacies every week just to ensure that you will have the medication you need in order to survive. As of now, I do not have to worry about the cost of my medication for myself, but I know that Remicade is around $13,000 a treatment. In the future where companies can increase the cost of medications used to treat my disease, and where I may be uninsured, I know for a fact that the cost could be devastating to my life and my future.
Affordability in medication is something I care about deeply. I volunteer as a counselor at a camp for kids that have Crohn’s and Colitis. They are so young, and thinking about them growing up and having to struggle for their treatments disheartens me deeply. Some of the kids are as young as eight years old. What will their future hold if we allow companies to monopolize on prescription drugs and raise the prices to whatever they can? We need to see US lawmakers making policies that protect the people.
As a patient who will one day be affected by current legislation around Medicare, I strongly feel that they should be able to negotiate. That’s why I am supportive of the Trump Administration’s plan to lower Medicare Part B drug prices for drugs like Remicade. The plan will allow us to negotiate better on the price of drugs and will effectively bring our costs down by almost 30 percent. That would make a difference for my peace of mind and the health of many Americans like me.