Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why I Support (And Ask You To Support) H.R. 4209-The Patients' Access to Critical Therapies Act (PACTA)

There are 50 million American adults and 300,000 children with arthritis. They experience limitations and disruptions to their lives because of pain and disability.

Many insurance companies are placing biologic medications in specialty tiers with out-of-pocket costs that can be from hundreds to thousands of dollars a month instead of the traditional tier copays. Because of the cost, many people have to chose to skip doses of these drugs or stop taking them.

 These medications are drugs that don't generally have generics. Biologic drugs early enough can prevent patients with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriatic arthritis, from becoming disabled, seriously ill, or even dying. Placing these drugs at a level that makes them unaffordable places a greater financial burden long term on the health care system and leaves patients with a greater risk of early permanent disability.

Biologics can easily retail for $1,500 a month. What if you had to chose between paying a percentage of that drug because it's in a "speciality tier" and putting gas in your car to go to work? Or filling your grocery cart for your family? This isn't a choice of a drug that would "make you prettier" or something superficial. Biologics are life altering drugs. Having to chose putting gas in your car now to get to work over paying for the drug, could easily lessen the years you are available to work. What if you had to make that choice for your child who needs to take a biologic medication?

I am asking you to contact your U.S. Representative to be an original co-sponsor of Patient Access to Critical Therapies Act (PACTA). Not just for me, but for everyone who benefits and can benefit from the use of biologic medications. The Arthritis Foundation makes contacting your Representative easy, just go to End Discrimination Against Arthritis and fill out your name and address.  The system will generate the email to your Representative for you!

Thank you!

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