Some of you may have heard the news that came out from the FDA Commissioner about news impacting lowering insulin prices. When I read the statement initially, there was a lot of medical jargon in there for me. So for my latest blogpost for OnTrack Diabetes I asked my pharmacist Dad to help decode it to find out if we will really see a benefit from these changes. Read it below….
Nicole & Alec
The price of insulin in the US has more than doubled since 2012. As a result, the cost of this life-saving hormone is out of reach for many people with diabetes. Some try to make it last longer by rationing the expensive substance—putting their lives at risk.
Alec Smith tragically lost his life in June 2017, a few weeks after his 26th birthday, from a condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis—a consequence of dangerously high blood sugar. His family believes he had been rationing insulin in an attempt to make it to his next payday when he would have the money to purchase more.
Nicole Smith-Holt, Alec’s mother, shares her son’s sad story and explains what can be done to combat this troubling problem.
Listen to the podcast interview here: https://www.ontrackdiabetes.com/podcasts/diabetes-dish/episode-26-losing-alec.
Alec Raeshawn Smith. Shane Patrick Boyle. Antavia Lee Worsham. Seely Weatherell. Danielle DeShae Dunbar. What do these five people have in common? They’ve all lost their lives because of the outrageous cost of insulin in the United States. Sadly, they are just a few of the names of people who’ve died in recent years, as the cost of insulin continues to soar.
As I mentioned in my previous post, my insulin cost around $20 when I first started using it in 1999. Today that same vial is $395 and I go through 2 vials in a month. And this is just ONE of my diabetes prescriptions.
Over the years I’ve become increasingly more passionate about this topic so when I heard the call to join in the #Insulin4all Rally being held on the grounds of pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly and organized by T1International and People of Faith for Access to Affordable Medicines, I booked my plane ticket.
Ever since my brother Will was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes nearly 23 years ago (a few years before I was diagnosed), I’ve been convinced that if we want to see a change we must be willing to show up and have our voices heard.
To read my full blogpost click below…
Imagine getting diagnosed with a life-changing, incurable disease at the age of t13 that you had nothing to do with. That’s what happened to me. My first thought was…
My life is over.
Next, the doctor tells me that I would need to inject—inject!—a medicine called insulin that would serve as my life support because my pancreas is broken and has stopped producing insulin on its own.
I absolutely hate needles.
It was an emotional, overwhelming and confusing time for me. The good news is my father is a pharmacist, so he took care of my prescriptions.
Back in 1999 my insulin vial cost around $20. Fast forward 19 years. Today, my insulin cost $395 a vial! I go through a vial about every two weeks. And this is just ONE of my prescriptions for diabetes.
This vial of insulin has not changed in its formulary, the price has simply increased. Like many Americans, I also have insurance with a high-deductible, so in the beginning months of the year, I’m stuck paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket until I hit my out-of-pocket max. I am basically a cash cow for pharmaceutical companies, pharmacy benefit managers, pharmacies, insurance companies, etc. But I’m kind of stuck—they know I rely on insulin to stay alive so I have to buy it. Insulin is not optional for me.
How You Can Get Involved in the Fight Against High Prices
This is why I’m flying to Indianapolis this weekend to protest these practices—along with many other fierce, fellow diabetes advocates—on the grounds of Eli Lilly for the #insulin4all demonstration.
Read the rest of my blogpost here…