The Cost of Pharmaceuticals:
Her Life is Worth at Least $12,000 a Month
Ann Foster lights up a room when she enters, and she mows through chores like a boss. At age 76, she has an entire history of shenanigans behind her and many more ahead. But life is a little more challenging now.
Ann suffers from arthritis and pulmonary hypertension. She’s a colon cancer survivor, and has faced rheumatic fever (twice), heart issues, MRSA and a spasmodic back. Even active folks like Ann can end up with a drug store in their medicine cabinets.
She doesn’t like it, of course. But she’s a goer, so she deals with it. “I just do what I have to,” she says. Ann’s complement of medication includes an injection and pill worth about $12,000 a month. You heard right. Two meds worth thousands.
Insurance pays a bulk of the cost, but how does the rest get paid for? Through goodwill and generosity. In other words, she gets money from private foundations.
Each January, Ann searches for a foundation to pay for her meds. Usually, as she searches, she is using up the last of her medications. The pressure is on, not only to find funds, but do it in time to get the next round of prescriptions to keep her alive and well.
“I don’t know how other people do this,” she says. “I know enough and have enough gumption to get out there and make the calls. I feel bad for people who don’t know how.”
As Ann self-administers an injection, she looks up and says. “I’ve learned to handle a lot. It’s not fun, but it’s a matter of life and death, so I do it. I just tell people to remember I’m worth at least $12,000 a month.”