I have spent the past week learning something I did not want to know about boomers, and what we will be dying of in the future. This all started when I contracted a Clostridium difficile or C. diff infection back in October. C. diff is a common bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. It can be very difficult to cure with standard antibiotic treatment, and the spores are easily transmitted on all surfaces.
According to the CDC, Clostridium difficile causes over half a million infections in the United States each year, and over 29,000 die within 30 days of initial diagnosis. More than 80 percent of the deaths associated with C. difficile occurred among Americans aged 65 years or older. C. difficile causes an inflammation of the colon and deadly diarrhea.
I have followed the standard protocol of antibiotic treatments for the past few months, but my infection continued to return. Because the generic vancomycin I have been taking off and on for months seemed less effective, I recently requested a stronger, more targeted antibiotic, fidaxomicin also known as Dificid. Come to find out, this drug is Tier 4 to my insurance company, so they will not help me purchase it, and at over $5,000 per treatment, there are no guarantees it will be more effective in curing my illness.
I’m beginning to see, the worse your illness, the less likely your insurance will pay for needed treatments. Now I see why C. diff is killing so many Americans.
The only truly effective treatment for C. diff is a fecal microbial transplant. This treatment is over 90% effective, but guess what? This treatment is still considered experimental and is therefore not covered by insurance in our country.
So there you have it. The only two treatments that might actually help me at this point, are not covered by insurance and are therefore so outrageously expensive that no one but those billionaires who hang out with our president could afford them! I did find a British clinic in the Bahamas that offers FMT at a halfway reasonable rate, and if we get desperate, that is what we’ll do.
Good to know our health care system is working so well for Americans over 60. Sure there are lots of great drugs and treatments for infections and cancer, and most of us will never be able to afford them. We may also need to go to other countries to get treatments we can afford, and those that actually work!
Time to go renew my passport I guess…
The average cancer drug price for approximately 1 year of therapy was less than $10,000 before 2000. In 2012, 12 of the 13 new drugs approved for cancer indications were priced above $100,000 per year of therapy.