Prices must come down.

My name is David Schmor and I am a retired high school teacher. I live in St. Helens, Oregon and I am one of many Americans struggling with the high price of prescription drugs.

I have stage 4 prostate cancer along with a heart condition. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer about 6 years ago and have since been treating the cancer very aggressively. I began with surgery that cost over $100,000, followed by radiation which was another $100,000, and ongoing hormone therapy that cost me $200 out of pocket every three months. Just one of my pills, Xtandi, costs $400 a day. Fortunately, I was involved in a study for almost a year that covered a lot of these costs. I am currently doing chemo and I have yet to see a final cost for it, but I know it will not be cheap. You may notice I have not even mentioned the cost of doctor visits, scans, or biopsies. The price of the medications is astounding, but when combined with the rest, it’s overwhelming.  

With all that said, I still consider myself lucky. I have pretty good insurance and I participate in experimental studies to get access to life-saving drugs for free or discounted rates. Along with the ability to provide research and development, affordability is a major motivator for me to participate in these studies. If it weren't for the fact that my medicine is covered under these studies, I probably wouldn't be able to get the medications that I need to survive.

Fighting cancer and worrying about how I am going to access my medicine is a huge stressor, even with insurance. I can't even begin to imagine what going through this is like for people without insurance. This is the last thing you need to be stressed over when confronting a life-threatening illness. My heart goes out to anyone without extra assistance. Is it any wonder so many go bankrupt because of medical expenses? Prices must come down.