Recently I came across a disturbing Facebook post on diabetes advocate, Mike Lawson‘s page about a man desperate for insulin who created a Go-Fund-Me page to be able to afford it.
Shane Patrick Boyle who was living with type 1 diabetes was a gifted writer and graphic artist who created a Go-Fund-Me campaign to pay for insulin
Unfortunately Shane passed on March 18th, and according to his Go-Fund-Me Page, “Shane died because he was trying to stretch out his life saving insulin to make it last longer.”
Shane moved back home to help take care of his sick mom, Judith (she died on March 11th,) and his healthcare was put on the line because of the move.
Shane lost his Rx benefits, was between doctors and needed insulin for his type 1 diabetes. Shane was waiting for his ACA status to be approved and was stretching out his insulin until he had enough money to pay for his insulin, and see a doctor to prescribe prescriptions.
Around the world people with diabetes are dying because they don’t have access to life saving insulin.
According to the New York Times, a lawsuit was filed in January accusing three makers of insulin of conspiring to drive up the prices of their lifesaving drugs, harming patients who were being asked to pay for a growing share of their drug bills.
The article states that the price of insulin has skyrocketed in recent years, with the three manufacturers — Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly — raising the list prices of their products in near lock step, prompting outcry from patient groups and doctors who have pointed out that the rising prices appear to have little to do with increased production costs.
The lawsuit cites several examples of patients with diabetes who, unable to afford their insulin treatments, which can cost up to $900 a month, have resorted to injecting themselves with expired insulin or starving themselves to control their blood sugar. Some patients, the lawsuit said, intentionally allowed themselves to slip into diabetic ketoacidosis — a blood syndrome that can be fatal — to get insulin from hospital emergency rooms.
A recent study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that the price of insulin nearly tripled from 2002 to 2013.
Given insulin’s history, and the fact that more than one company makes it, it might seem odd that prices have been going up so dramatically.
Researchers first figured out how to manufacture insulin in animal pancreases back in the 1920s so that it could be injected into people. The doctor who developed it, Dr. Frederick Banting, won a Nobel Prize for the discovery in 1923.
Since then, there have been some big changes. In the 1970s, scientists figured out how to use recombinant DNA to manufacture real human insulin, so that it no longer had to come from animals. But in drug years, that is old, and those insulins are still in use.
The most prescribed types of insulin are called analogues, which are slight variations of human insulin that aim to help diabetics’ bodies function more closely to how they would if they were able to produce the insulin themselves.
Drug companies have a history of marginally improving drugs and then charging higher prices for the new versions even if the extra benefit is small.
Join The American Diabetes Association and sign the petition to make insulin affordable. Advocate and call your lawmakers – your voice matters, so make use it and make noise!
LISTEN NOW: Tips for Managing Your Diabetes at Night on Diabetes Late Nite inspired by Gladys Knight & The Pips. Guests include Stacey Harris aka ‘The Diabetic Pastry Chef’, Mary Ann Hodorowicz, RD, LDN, MBA, CDE, CEC, the Charlie’s Angels of Outreach, SleepyHead Central founder Tamara Sellman RPSGT, CCSH, Poet Lorraine Brooks and Mama Rose Marie.