To the Editor:

Thousands of Mainers take prescription drugs, and many struggle to afford them. I am one of those people. My only source of income is my Social Security and that barely covers my monthly expenses.

I am a retired nurse. I know how the healthcare system works. Despite research and multiple conversations with my doctors about any available alternatives, I can barely afford the life-saving medications I need. I have several chronic diseases that affect my lungs and my liver. Sometimes I have to skip doses, which causes terrible side effects.

The other side effect is my quality of life. The cost of these drugs is so high that I have to ration my food. I cannot visit my own children who live out-of-state because I cannot afford the trip. I am only 72 years old and this is not how I imagined my “golden years” would be. Yet, I know there are many other people who are far worse off than I am.

Americans pay more for prescription drugs than any other country in the world. The pharma executives don’t care at all that the cost of their drugs is ruining people’s lives. They care about their profits. Sometimes it feels like they are trying to weed us out.

It’s time to make our voices heard. I went to Augusta on April 17 to testify before the Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services regarding a package of bills to address prescription drug cost and accessibility.

Please, call your state legislators. Call your members of Congress. If you are as outraged as I am by the cost of prescription drugs, please speak up now. We need our representatives to take a stand and we need Pharma to take responsibility.

Ellen Harris-Howard

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