Alice Bleachy, Calais

I am on a very expensive brand name drug for which there is no generic equivalent. The insurance company has dropped this drug from its formulary for 2010. The alternative nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories in their formulary are untried by me and are also expensive. The cost of this drug is so high that regardless of which insurance company is used, I would be in the doughnut hole in five months.

The irony is that the patent for this drug, Asacol, should have run out long ago, but the company that makes it has managed to prevent that by making trivial changes such as combining two doses into one bigger pill, thus preventing its becoming a generic.

It is difficult to compare the cost of one drug vs another as the companies have imposed quantity limits on the dose. My doctor has prescribed a higher dose than the quantity limits permit, thus subverting the doctor’s judgment as to the proper dose for an individual patient.

I am faced with the choice of cutting down on the dose, going without entirely, or facing near financial ruin. I am a vibrant elder who as long as I am on the proper dosage can keep active and engaged with my community and family. Many people depend on me. What am I supposed to do?