Everywhere you go, every newspaper, every pharmacist and physician, (especially the office help) and rightfully disgruntled seniors are talking about Medicare part D. Most everyone including myself are wondering what the D stands for, disastrous, dumb, desperate, doubtful as to whether it will help.


Am I being less than hopeful for this fledgling program? Possibly down right critical? Case in point, I have a good friend whose Mother was given a new cancer therapy (oral) that shows via CAT scan that the drug is helping. The drug cost, $3,000 monthly, (no generic is available) she is to take the drug for one year. Her first trip to the pharmacy this year cost her well over two thousand dollars, and now until her portion of the cost reaches $3,600 she will receive no further help.  What average senior has that kind of money?


Two things come to mind with the passing of this bill: One, thereŐs big money to be made from the sale of more generic and brand name patented drugs then ever before. And two it helps the drug companies stop the flow of money spent in Canada by seniors looking for more reasonably priced drugs which reverts back to reason number one.


Sad to think that health has become only for the wealthy or the insured. Even if you have managed your health well your entire life, ate responsibly, took your vitamins and always exercised there will come a time when each and every one of us will need the high tech world of medicine, some more than others myself included. The bill for my drugs alone that ended my two year nightmare with Lyme disease several years ago was upwards of $50,000. My insurance paid for which I say thank you.  


In this brief article I would not claim to know that I have the answers. I do have some thoughts on the subject but will keep them to myself for now and instead will share these words of advice. If you find yourself seriously ill or injured and working your way through the maze of modern medicine first and foremost you need a loving advocate that will do the legwork of money, financing and details for you. You have your work cut out for you getting well.


Although difficult remember that you always have choices including the drugs that you do or donŐt take. If Medicare part D isnŐt helping, call your congressman, call your governor, ask your doctor for samples, check the prices in Canada- you might be surprised. If you take more than one drug and you canŐt get samples of the drug you need or itŐs too expensive to buy, take all the samples you can get of your other drugs freeing up funds to buy the more common ones. Many drug companies do offer what they have unfairly named indigent programs for those who canŐt afford their drugs. Maybe I shouldnŐt look a gift horse in the mouth, but considering that a larger percentage of the population could not afford drugs like the one mentioned above maybe they could consider a more fitting name for their programs? Or share the expense asking individuals to pay what they can based on monies available. Till next time, Rebecca