A (Not So) Small Price to Pay: What Patients and Doctors Can Do About the Rising Cost of Medicine

No matter who you are or what your station in life may be, the dream of good health and longevity for ourselves and those we love is a dream we all share. Unfortunately, for far too many of us nowadays, that dream also comes with a hefty price tag, one that fewer and fewer Americans are able to pay. In fact, if you’ve found yourself having to pay for any kind of prescription drug in the last few years, you’ve probably been shocked at how much, and how rapidly, drug costs are rising. 

costs of cancer treatment

This is leading many people to resort to drastic measures, from rationing their medications to not taking them at all, sometimes with catastrophic results. According to current estimates, in fact, more than 120,000 deaths each year may be linked to patients’ failure or inability to take their medications as prescribed. So what can you and your doctor do to cope with the high costs of medication today? Read on to find out!

Why It Matters

If you and your loved ones are among the fortunate few who don’t have to rely on routine prescription medications to stay healthy, you may wonder why you should care about the skyrocketing costs of pharmaceuticals. Though those in your immediate family may be healthy for the present, it’s almost certain that someone you care about, an aging relative or a close friend, is struggling to pay for essential medications.

And while you and your family may be in the pink of health right now, you simply can’t count on your good fortune lasting forever. According to current estimates, as many as 1 in 3 Americans are prediabetic, and most do not even know it. Being prediabetic means that you are at significant risk of developing full-blown diabetes that will require treatment with insulin or prescription medications, such as Jardiance, to control blood glucose and help prevent some of the life-threatening complications associated with the disease.

Ways to Cope

As alarming as the increase in prescription drug costs may be, all is not lost. There are things you and your family can do to protect both your health and your finances.

1. Focus on Disease Prevention

One of the best ways to avoid the burden of prescription drug costs is to take proactive steps to protect your health in the first place. You can seek out the advice of healthcare providers to learn about you and your family’s particular risk factors. You can also seek out health education programs, many of which are offered at low and no cost, to learn about nutrition, exercise, preventative screenings, immunizations, and other healthy habits and resources that can help you maintain your family’s good health for years to come.

2. Consider Alternative Therapies

According to estimates from the National Health Council, more than 150 million people in the United States have a chronic illness, and many have more than one. If you or someone you love is among that number, then you know well the challenges that come with living with illness — as well as the vital role that prescription medications often play in managing the disease.

Given the increasing costs of many of those drugs, though, you might consider alternative therapies to help you manage disease symptoms. CBD-based products, for example, are receiving increasing attention for their potential to reduce pain and control inflammation. But CBD isn’t your only option. A number of herbs, from turmeric to rosemary, have not only been credited with pain-relieving properties but also with other significant benefits for disease management, from boosting energy to improving cognitive function. 

And if you’re more interested in going high-tech, you might look into regenerative medicine, in which the body’s own cells can be used to repair injury and disease affecting the ligaments, muscles, and other tissues. The financial outlay for the treatment, of course, may be higher than the cost of a month’s supply of medication, but in the long run, it may result in significant cost savings — not to mention the potential improvement to your quality of life!

Contending with the Costs of Cancer

A cancer diagnosis is devastating, but what makes it worse is the reality of the often astronomical costs of cancer treatment. Perhaps one of the most important factors in controlling the costs of cancer treatment is to catch it early. 

Learning about your risk factors and steps you can take to prevent the disease or detect it in its earliest stages can not only save your life, but it can also protect you and your family from financial ruin. If you or someone you love is diagnosed, it’s also essential that you reach out for help. There are a number of programs that can help you cover the costs of your treatment, as well as reputable fundraising platforms.

The Takeaway

The rising costs of prescription drugs can take a devastating toll on patients and their families, but you don’t have to be at the mercy of Big Pharma. There are steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones from rising pharmaceutical costs, from practicing preventative health to exploring alternative therapies to taking advantage of the many assistance programs and crowdfunding resources available to help those in need.

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Article Author Details

Charlie Fletcher

Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer living in the pacific northwest who has a variety of interests including sociology, politics, business, education, health, and more.