PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine woman who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis has told a senate committee that the high cost of treating the disease is an unfair burden on thousands of patients.

Eighty-year-old Patty Bernard of Falmouth testified before the Senate Aging Committee on Wednesday at the request of Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. Bernard told the committee she was able to manage the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis with medication until she retired at age 79 and switched from employer-sponsored insurance to Medicare.

Bernard says the cost of the drug shot from a copayment of $10 to $30 to $3,800 per month.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the joints. Collins says it affects more than a million Americans, including more than 8,700 people in Maine.