No one should have to feel the fear and stress I felt.

My name is Zobeida Castillo and I am a 72-year-old resident of Lakewood, California. I am a former teacher with a love for culture and languages. I am now retired and have been enjoying my free time. I spend as much time as possible with my family and husband. He and I are raising a wonderful granddaughter who keeps us very busy.

Now that my husband and I are retired, we live on a fixed income. Although I’m grateful to have a modest income, I have begun to realize that maintaining our health is costing us dearly. I have suffered with stomach ulcers in the past, and because of the medications I am presently on, I’m at risk for recurrent ulcers. My doctor recommended Nexium, which my insurance covered –– until it didn’t. I was then told to take the generic, Esomeprazole. That was fine with me until I was told the co-pay had gone up from $5 for a 90 day supply to $50 for a monthly supply.

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“I need these medications, and I’m sure I will continue to need others in the future. But these drug costs are simply too high.”

- Zobeida Castillo

Aside from the Esomeprazole, I was prescribed a medication known as Premarin by my OBGYN. It is a cream used by women who are postmenopausal. The insurance would not cover it. If I wanted to use the cream, my out of pocket cost would be $150.

I chose not to pay the ridiculous amount of money for these two medications. I need these medications, and I’m sure I will continue to need others in the future. But these drug costs are simply too high. I, and others in retirement, should not have to be paying these high prices for necessary medications that have been prescribed to us by our doctors.

Patients need more affordable drugs, and I will fight to bring this cause to center stage. No one should have to feel the fear and stress I felt when being told the cost of my medications. Californians deserve better.