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A ‘Complicated and Special’ Case
By Sarah Kirwan, for the Hearing Health Foundation
In June 2010, I stepped off a plane in Los Angeles with a painfully full left ear, muffled hearing, throbbing eyes, vertigo, and a migraine. I also got off that plane with no idea I would straddle the line between a nondisabled and disabled identity for the rest of my life.
Over the next eight months, I sat in offices answering questions and completing tests, while medical specialists sat baffled. There was an otolaryngologist, neuro-ophthalmologist, neuro-psychometrist, rheumatologist, clinical psychologist, audiologist, and neurologist, among others.
A decade later, the doctor visits and medical testing continue, but the frenzied pace has slowed and I can finally breathe again. I think back to those times when I was seeing two or three doctors each week, and I can remember one specialist smiling at me and saying, “Yours is a complicated and special case.” At that time, I didn’t realize how right he was.
Why Are Prescription Drug Prices So Insanely High—Even With Insurance?
- If you've ever emptied your wallet to pay for a handful of pills, you know that drug prices in the United States have soared in recent years. Last year consumers shelled out more than $1,000 per person for prescription meds, up from around $400 in 2000, according to Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker. But what’s equally frustrating to patients and health care advocates is that there seems to be no rhyme or reason to who pays what.
CVS Rang Up a Woman's 14-Day Course of Antibiotics for $1,400
- The wide discrepancies in drug pricing wouldn’t be quite so shocking if the prices hadn’t risen so quickly in the first place. From 2008 to 2016 the average list price for brand-name oral drugs (ones still protected by patents, meaning that less expensive generics can’t be sold) jumped 9% per year—five times as fast as the rate of inflation—while injectables shot up 15% annually, or eight times as fast as the inflation rate, according to a study in Health Affairs.