Last May, my oncologist put me on a medicine know as Zytiga. It’s been quite effective. My cancer is no longer detectable. Still have a few years left, it seems.
Now Zytiga is not cheap. One month’s supply retails for about $9,817 per month, a supply of 120, 250 mg. tablets. That works out to be $117,804 a year and most people in our country don’t make anywhere close to that. That means you must be either rich or have insurance — good insurance — or you simply go home to die.
So let’s discuss insurance. I’m 76, have cancer and am on Medicare, which covers 80%, and is a whole lot better than the chintzy policies employers provide with their wee benefits and low caps. As for an individual family policy, it’ll be at least half the price of the Zytiga itself and you cough up a horrid co-pay. Even on Medicare, the co-pay is $560 per month (not to mention the “doughnut hole”). I gotta tell you, $560 is not all that doable for most men my age. Instead of a pizza once a week, the poor devil will be eating dog food. Or going hungry.
Now here’s the paste in the groin. Taj Distributors, over in India, offers a 1-month’s supply of Zytiga for $1,580, plus shipping, and Modern Times, also from India, wants just $1,400. Furthermore, though the Zytiga bottle has Johnson & Johnson on the label, the medicine, (according to Google searches) appears to be of Italian manufacture, — Janseen Cilag S.P.A. (read all about it here: https://www.janssen.com/european-commission-extends-license-janssens-zytiga-plus-prednisone-prednisolone-include-earlier).
$9,817 in America and the Indians sell it for $1,500. I find this insulting.
Medicare needs the ability to negotiate the lowest price for medicines no matter from whom and where they are obtained and how much dickering needs to be done to get them. It’s your job to make this happen. It’s also your job to close the “doughnut hole” in Medicare. Of course you could simply introduce a bill that starts Medicare coverage at age zero — take your first breath and you are covered by Medicare for life. This needs to be done. It really does. And this is an election year, what better time for Democrats to introduce such a bill? To be sure the turd-throwers in the Republican Party will fall to the floor and chew the carpet but who cares? As Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Audacity, audacity, always audacity”. (ed)