Caroline Kulinski was diagnosed five years ago with multiple sclerosis, and she went from working as a software trainer to being in constant pain, needing a cane to walk.
“I could no longer tie my shoes,’’ she recalls.
But a drug that she tried, after four others proved unsuccessful, had an almost miraculous effect on her condition. Tysabri, one of the newer “biologic” medications — complex mixtures made from living organisms — slowed down her disease and allowed healing to occur, says Kulinski, a Chamblee resident. She was able to cook again, play the piano and do other tasks.
“It allowed me to have my life back,’’ she says. Now she’s pregnant, with her baby due in December.
But Kulinski still has a major fear. She worries that she won’t be able to afford the drug much longer.
Currently, it costs her $750 a month. But if her health plan goes to what’s called “specialty tier’’ pricing for members, it could cost her $3,000 a month, Kulinski says.
An increasing number of health plans have gone to different pricing for biologic drugs, causing patients’ out-of-pocket costs to rise by hundreds of dollars per month.
Kulinski joined patient advocates, health care professionals, industry officials and others at a Wednesday forum at Emory University to promote awareness and an advocacy campaign to address the issue of biologic drug pricing. Their goal is to get action on the issue from the state Legislature. full story