Meet Pam Holt: Her Cancer Drug Put Her in Deep Financial Hole

Pam Holt at a Senate hearing


The retired educator and single mom had to refinance her home to pay Rx bills

Pam Holt believed she had played by the rules and planned smartly for her retirement. Then cancer struck. After a stem cell transplant, there was a medicine that would, she hoped, put her into remission. The only catch: The drug would cost her more than $11,000 a year.

Holt, who lives in Granger, Ind. (a suburb of South Bend), was widowed at age 40 and raised three children on her own. She was an elementary school teacher, then an assistant principal and principal. In 2016, after she had retired, she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable but treatable blood cancer. Medicare paid for the stem cell transplant. Then she found out what her cancer medicine would cost.

“The first month was over $3,000,” Holt says.

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