Bennie Gates grew up in Richmond, one of four children. Chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes run in his family. He has witnessed their devastating impact his whole life and is now experiencing the health impact of chronic disease personally.
Bennie is a diabetic. He takes a commonly prescribed treatment called Jardiance to manage his diabetes. It’s one of the most expensive and widely prescribed prescriptions in Medicare Part D–and it’s on the list for Medicare negotiations under the new reform law that will lower drug prices for millions of diabetics like Bennie.
Thanks to Jardiance, Bennie is able to manage his weight, control his blood sugar and increase his activity–including by swimming again–an exercise he had given up when he lost his leg to diabetes. Jardiance is a critical part of his regimen to stay healthy and active but the cost of the medicine is steep.
Bennie continues to work and in addition to his Medicare Part D coverage also has employer-sponsored coverage, yet his prescription for Jardiance still costs him an astronomical $600 for a 30-day supply. Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Jardiance, is trying to block negotiations and other reforms in court so they can keep prices and profits high. But medicines like Jardiance can’t help patients like Bennie unless they can afford them.