Woman Said Prescription Costs $18,000 a Month Without Insurance in Viral TikTok

A woman's TikTok video recently went viral after it revealed that a prescription for a medication she needs for her chronic illness will cost her over $18,000 a month out-of-pocket.

Abigail Gingerale, who goes by the TikTok handle of @abigailgingeraleofficial, shared the clip on the platform Friday. In the video, which has received more than 415,000 views and 2,198 comments, Gingerale shares a phone conversation she had with a pharmacist regarding medicine for a unique form of narcolepsy.

"When you lose health insurance and can't buy your meds because they are $18000 a MONTH for self pay," the on-screen text read.

Gingerale's husband could be heard in the background asking the pharmacist to repeat the amount that was due for 30 days' worth of her sleeping pills.

"$18,392.40," the pharmacist can be heard saying in the clip (According to the text in the video, the total was $18,023.40).

"And how do you f***ing justify that," the husband asks. "That's so outrageous."

Gingerale then takes the phone back as she laughs. She tells the pharmacist she knows it wasn't her fault that the price was so high, even though the cost was "kind of comical."

Gingerale explained to Newsweek that the medication is only prescribed to people with her disorder and carried in just one pharmacy in the U.S., which makes it impossible to get anywhere outside the country. She said that the medication is a Schedule 3 class substance, which makes the vetting process "extreme."

She also said that the couple's photography business took a hit during the pandemic and they can no longer afford the $1,600 for insurance to cover her family of three.

"Unfortunately we are just getting back on our feet, so I don't think it will be possible to have it again for a while," she told Newsweek.

She said that she now has to get off the medication because there is "no way" she can afford it through self-pay.

In the comments, thousands of TikTok users mentioned that the price for the prescription was ridiculous. Some of them even mentioned that they were happy that they did not live in the United States.

"I am so thankful to live in Australia," one user commented.

Another commenter remarked that the healthcare system in the United States is a "crime against humanity."

Prescription medications
A woman's video on TikTok went viral after revealing that a month's worth of one of her prescription medications cost more than $18,000. Gideon Mendel/Corbis via Getty Images

Another user in the comments mentioned that the cost of one month's worth of medication is an annual income for some people in the U.S. Others chimed in that insurance companies aren't paying the full price either.

"But you know the insurance company isn't paying $18k, why are we expecting individuals to?!" the user asked.

Many commenters also said that they worked in pharmacies and thanked Gingerale for recognizing that the pharmacists have nothing to do with the price of the medications.

"It breaks my heart when i have to tell people their copay," a commenter wrote.

Data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that in 2020, nearly 31.2 million Americans under the age of 65 were uninsured. While the cost of prescription drugs varies, it is usually much higher for people who do not have insurance as many insurance plans cover much of the cost of prescriptions.

In December, President Joe Biden said he was committed to helping lower the cost of prescription medications for Americans. In remarks at the White House, he stated that Americans "pay the highest prescription drug prices of any developed nation in the world."