With one in four Americans having trouble paying for medical care, it’s no surprise that GoodRx users come from all walks of life. Today’s story is about Eddie, an Uber driver in the Los Angeles area who, as an independent contractor without health benefits, wasn’t able to afford medications for his chronic migraines.
We first met Eddie when our very own Thomas Goetz hopped into his car outside the GoodRx office. As one does during car share rides, Thomas and Eddie got into a conversation about what they do for a living and discovered they had something in common — they both spend a lot of time thinking about how expensive prescription medications are!
Eddie has been in the fine art business for 28 years. As an art dealer and consultant, he helps artists with printing and framing, and connects them to potential buyers like private collectors, decorators, and art galleries. He spends his free time painting and has recently taken up photography, which he says gives him instant gratification.
Five years ago, Eddie moved from Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a job at an art gallery in Beverly Hills. He’s since had to leave that job, and a friend of his suggested he try driving for Uber to tide him over until he finds his next gig. While Uber’s been working out fine (Eddie actually enjoys driving and meeting new people), he’s missing out on health insurance, something his previous employer provided — a major issue since he suffers from chronic migraines.
Eddie’s chronic migraines started about 20 years ago (when he was in his mid-40’s) and are completely debilitating. On days when his pain level is at six or beyond, he has to stay in his room with the lights out. When he doesn’t take medication, his migraines can last anywhere between 4 and 27 hours. He describes the pain, which typically starts between the early hours of 2 AM and 7 AM, as “an ice pick stabbing [him] in the eye”. After he’s woken up and he takes his medication, it’ll be a better part of an hour before the pain goes away and he can sleep again.
At first, Eddie was prescribed Imitrex for his migraines, which cost $185 a pack (its generic, sumatriptan, wasn’t available yet). Each box only came with nine pills, so he would use them sparingly, breaking them into quarters and only taking what he needed. Sometimes he would supplement with over-the-counter pain relievers, Excedrin or Tylenol.
Only recently has Eddie switched to sumatriptan, which came to market in 2003. With his old insurance coverage, 18 pills cost $27. That’s a far cry from the $100 plus he would have to pay without insurance. During their car ride, Thomas suggested checking GoodRx for savings and looked up the prices for sumatriptan on the GoodRx app. They found that with GoodRx, nine pills would cost $12.81. And here’s the kicker: 18 pills could actually be as low as $18.91, cheaper than Eddie’s original co-pay.
When we called Eddie for this story, he was in the middle of working on a new art piece. He said even though — thanks to Thomas and GoodRx — he’s now able to afford his migraine medication, he’s still hoping to drive less because the long hours and stress can exacerbate his migraines. He typically drives four to six hours every day but will take a day off when he gets migraines. Lately, he’s been noticing a new type of pain in another part of his head, but he’s not sure he’ll be able to afford a doctor’s visit until he finds a new job.
In the meantime, he’s looking at applying for a Medi-Cal health plan and using GoodRx to get his sumatriptan. And since meeting Thomas, more of us at GoodRx have run into Eddie while catching a ride, and we’re always excited to see how he’s doing!
Here’s a photograph taken by Eddie:
GoodRx started with a simple idea: Help people find affordable medications. Help people understand their options. Help people get what they need for their health. Have a story about how GoodRx helped you? Email us at email@example.com or tell us on Facebook or Twitter – don’t forget to tag #GoodRxHelps!
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