Hello patient advocates! Dr. Will Harvey here, Chair of the Government Affairs Committee at the American College of Rheumatology and Director of the Arthritis Treatment Center at Tufts Medical Center.
Recently, patient advocates from the rheumatic disease community walked the halls of Congress to tell lawmakers about the importance of life-saving biologic drugs, how the high cost of these specialty medications makes it difficult to afford them, and why more government-funded medical research is needed to pursue treatments and cures.
Their stories – and yours, too – are incredibly important to help lawmakers learn how their policy decisions affect your ability to access quality care and innovative treatments.
Here are just a few of the stories our patient advocates shared with their lawmakers while they were in Washington, DC.
Both Jane and her mother have been impacted by rheumatoid arthritis, but their experiences are drastically different as a result of access to life-saving biologic drugs. Now, Jane’s fighting for patient rights and better access to care.
Patricia has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for more than 30 years. At first, the only medication available was anti-inflammatories and “gold shots,” which eventually forced her to have part of her stomach removed. Thanks to the advent of biologics, Patricia is able to continue walking.
Melanie was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis 26 years ago. For the past five years, Melanie has been visiting Congress to tell her story about how biologic therapies have changed her life.
Even with health insurance, the monthly copays for the biologic drugs Leslie desperately needed have ranged anywhere from $25 to $5,400 due to the ‘specialty tier’ pricing system adopted by a growing number of insurers.
While raising her children, Linda began receiving biologic drugs that allowed her to return to work. She’s sharing her story in hopes that others will be able to have the same access to life-changing drugs as she did.
Have a story to share?
Thank you to all of our patient advocates who work hard to ensure all rheumatic disease patients have access to affordable, quality care. If you have a story you’d like to share, we want to hear it. Your stories matter, and we couldn’t do this without you.
Dr. Will Harvey