It is no secret that health care in the United States is unaffordable for many citizens. According to ABC News, one out of five Americans goes without health care because they simply cannot afford it. This is an unfortunate result of skyrocketing expenses, including a rising cost of pharmaceuticals that is outpacing that of inflation. Needless to say, the country is in a crisis, and health insurance reform has not remedied the problem. Advocacy programs such as The RX Advocates have emerged as one of the best solutions to prescription drugs that are not affordable.
Many pharmaceutical companies offer medications at a discount to patients who enroll in assistance programs. Applying for, enrolling in and taking advantage of these programs is not always as straightforward as you would imagine, though. Advocacy programs such as The RX advocates bridge the gap and make medications, such as the following four, more accessible to patients.
According to Harvard Medical School, Soliris is the most expensive medication on the market. With an annual cost of $409,500, it is far from affordable for the majority of Americans. Soliris is the trade name for the drug, Eculizumab, which is a complement inhibitor. It is primarily used by patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and functions by preventing the destruction of red blood cells. It is administered via IV injections, and no generic version has been released yet. Because of the exorbitant cost, insurance companies may only cover part of the expense, but there are other options for patients.
Hunter syndrome, also known as mucopolysaccharidosis II, is a rare disease affecting the lysosomal storage ability of the body. A deficiency of the iduronate-2 sulfate causes heparan and dermatan sulfates to accumulate throughout the body’s tissues. As a result, abnormalities develop that negatively affect patients’ health and can even cause death. Elaprase treats this condition by dosing patients with a purified form of the enzyme they lack—the aforementioned iduronate-2. This mitigates symptoms and can allow patients to lead healthy lives, but its annual cost of $375,000 makes it prohibitively expensive without assistance like that offered by The RX Advocates.
Mucopolysaccharidosis VI, also known as Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome, is a life-threatening condition that triggers the enlargement and inflammation of sufferers’ organs and tissues. It is caused by the malfunction of the enzyme arylsulfatase B, but it can be treated by the drug galsulfase. The brand name for this drug, Naglazyme, is administered through an IV and acts as a replacement for the patients’ ineffective enzymes. The drug itself is actually a purified form of the enzyme. Its annual cost of $365,000, though, makes it the third most expensive pharmaceutical drug currently available to patients in the United States.
Cinryze is the fourth most expensive drug on the market with a yearly cost of $350,000. It is the first C1 esterase inhibitor to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and it is intended to treat hereditary angioedema. Angioedema causes swelling similar to hives on the dermis. It is particularly painful because it can also cause swelling within a patient’s subcutaneous tissue, mucosa and tissues within the submucosa, too. Cinryze treats this by boosting plasma levels of the body’s natural C1 inhibitors and reducing spikes in bradykinin—which triggers the swelling of an attack.
These drugs are some of the most expensive, but plenty of other, more common drugs are also prohibitively expensive, too. The emergency of advocacy and assistance programs can lessen the burden, but you should partner with an advocate who is trustworthy and invested in helping you get the care you need. Do not settle for anything less when it comes to your wellbeing and health.