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Senate Aging Committee Hears Case About High Drug Costs

A Falmouth woman appeared before a senate committee Wednesday to talk about the high cost of treating rheumatoid arthritis.

80-year-old Patty Bernard told Maine Senator Susan Collins and other members of The Senate Aging Committee that she has lived with rheumatoid arthritis since she was 55. She says that when she had insurance through her employer, the copays for treatment were between $10 to $30. Then when she retired, Medicare told her the drug would cost her $3800 per month.

“I do not understand why I need to pay nearly $4,000 in a single month for a drug that for years I had for no more than $30 a month,” Bernard said.

Collins, who chairs the committee, promised that the panel would look in to the issue.

“I can’t imagine how you must have felt when you learned that your copay was going to go from $10 to $30 a month when you were privately insured through your employer, to an astounding $3800 a month,” Collins said.

Collins also said committee staff have found other large increases in drug costs affecting seniors.