Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 6 2020
Without medication to manage her plaque psoriasis, Jennifer Brown's face, scalp, trunk and neck periodically become covered in painful red, flaky patches so dry they crack and bleed.
She has gotten relief from medications, but they come at a high price. For a while she was on Humira, made by AbbVie, with an average retail price of roughly $8,600 for two monthly injections. When that drug stopped working for her, Brown's doctor switched her to a different drug. Today she is using another injectable, Skyrizi, also by AbbVie, which costs about $36,000 for two quarterly injections — nearly 40% more annually than Humira.
The pharmaceutical company offers an assistance program to help consumers like Brown pay their share of the drug, and that has helped her cover her copayments. However, she faces the possibility of higher drug costs under a federal rule finalized this spring by the Trump administration.
The rule, an annual directive that sets health plan standards for 2021, permits employers and insurers not to apply drug company copayment assistance toward enrollees' deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums for any drug. That means only payments made by the patients themselves would factor into the calculations to reach those spending targets and could make individuals responsible for thousands of dollars in drug costs.