I recently had an opinion letter I wrote featured in The Colorado Statesman, a publication that reports on Colorado state politics.
Here is the the letter:
Letter: Research, affordable options needed to treat chronic diseasesIn the middle of law school, I started experiencing severe joint pain and fatigue. There were many days when I was unable to walk, and simple tasks like eating or brushing my teeth became excruciating. Eventually I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disease that currently has no cure. I was only 25 years old.
After months of searching for an effective treatment, I finally experienced some relief on a specialty medication called a biologic. These genetically engineered proteins, generally administered via injection or infusion, make a huge difference in my quality of life. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that a particular biologic will work or that it will continue to be effective. There are currently only nine biologics approved to treat RA, and at the age of 33 I’m already on my fourth. For the sake of people like me living with lifelong conditions like RA, we need to encourage continued research and innovation to develop additional treatment options.
We also need to find ways to make these treatments more affordable. Although my health insurance company does cover a portion of the cost of my expensive medication, my family was billed a total of $9,875 out-of-pocket for the two infusions I received in 2015. Without the aid of a co-pay assistance program, I never would have been able to afford this life changing medication. We need to take action to improve this system so that the 117 million Americans living with chronic diseases can have access to effective treatments that allow them to get back to living their lives.
The same letter was also published in The Daily Camera!