Home Health Texas woman dies because $116 co-pay for flu medication was too expensive

Texas woman dies because $116 co-pay for flu medication was too expensive

5 min read
0
10


Heather Holland, 38, a second-grade teacher in Texas, came home early from work last month feeling mildly sick with flu symptoms and fatigued. Over the next few days, she decided not to pay a $116 copayment for medication, and within a week she had died.

Her husband, Frank Holland, said she could have afforded the medication, but she refused to buy it because it was so expensive. He bought the medication when her health deteriorated. “I have to be strong for the kids but it’s still surreal, it hasn’t all set in,” her husband, Frank Holland, told the Weatherford Democrat. “We’ve been together a long time, over half my life.”

Not taking medication or taking it incorrectly is responsible for 125,000 deaths per year and costs the American health-care system between $100 billion and $289 billion a year, a study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine found.

People often skip medication for financial reasons. One in five people have opted not to fill a prescription because it is too expensive, according to a poll from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Association, and the numbers are even higher for low-income Americans, with 3 in 10 of people who make less than $40,000 per year saying cost has prevented them from getting prescription drugs.

The problem is more pronounced in populations with chronic illness, as 50% of medications for chronic disease, according to the study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“This story is surprising, but not shocking,” said Caitlin Donovan a spokeswoman at the National Patient Advocate Foundation, a nonprofit that provides mediation for patients regarding medical debt. “Patients have been screaming about the costs of all sorts of things that have to do with health care. This is a highly preventable death and we should be living in a society that does not allow that to happen.”

President Donald Trump has criticized the high prices of drugs in the U.S., saying the fact that identical drugs are available in other countries at lower prices “very, very unfair.”

In January he appointed Alex Azar, an ex-pharmaceutical industry executive, as head of the Department of Health and Human Services and directed him to lower drug prices. Some critics have expressed skepticism Azar will come through on those promises because of his close ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

The budget proposal released by HHS on Friday made suggestions for a number of cost-cutting measures including allowing up to five states to collectively negotiate drug prices for Medicaid, cutting Medicare payments to discourage doctors from prescribing higher-price drugs, and putting a cap on out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs for Medicare enrollees.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Olympics Closing Ceremony 2018: Top Moments, Celebrities and More

JAVIER SORIANO/Getty Images The curtain came down on the 2018 Winter Olympics with a spect…