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Wednesday 24 August 2016

Diabetes patients are losing limbs because insulin is expensive

Amid reports of the rising cost of EpiPens comes news of another drug that has increased in price. Insulin has gone up in price over the years and there have been diabetes patients who can't afford it.

As a result of not being able to afford insulin, which has to be taken every day, some patients have had to go without. Some have even lost limbs and their sight.

Insulin is a drug that is injected and some patients can't take it daily because of its price. Some forms of insulin can cost patients hundreds of dollars, when they don't have health insurance or if they have a high deductible.

One medical professor tracked the price of insulin over the years. They said a one-month supply of a popular version of insulin once cost $45 wholesale. Years later, the price of it increased by almost 3,000 percent to $1,447. That's just the wholesale price and not retail.

The Consumerist quoted a pharmacist and diabetes educator, who said that patients are desperate, so they go without insulin or they skip doses. Sometimes they lower their prescribed dose, but then they end up in the emergency room with long-term complications such as vision problems, leg amputations and kidney failure.

Dr. Irl Hirsch, professor of medicine in the Division of Metabolism, said he once had a patient tell him that her insulin bill cost her as much as her mortgage. Another doctor, Dr. Claresa Levetan, chief of endocrinology at Chestnut Hill Hospital, said she sees people daily in the hospital because they can't get their doses of insulin. She added that many are in the intensive care unit with diabetic ketoacidosis.



Mac n' Janet said...

I have to have Epi pens and I had been complaining about the co-pay until I read that some people have a $400 co-pay!

Debbie said...

This is an interesting read. I have always felt diet was more important than medication but I am propably not educated enough to make that statement!!

Red Rose Alley said...

I just ran into a friend today from high school, and she's going blind from her diabetes. I was so saddened by it. Oh, this diabetes is an awful thing.

Thank you for your sweet comment on my Summer pics today, Jan.


sage said...

Even with copay, I pay $75 for a vial of Lantus (since I take it once a day, I get it in a vial instead of pens) and $100 for a box of Humalog pens. When I was diagnosed in 2011, the Lantus was $33 and the Humalog was $66. If I didn't have insurance, it'd be 5x that much!

Lowcarb team member said...

Mac n' Janet said...

I have to have Epi pens and I had been complaining about the co-pay until I read that some people have a $400 co-pay!

The CEO of Mylan manufacturer of the pen ain't complaining

The boss of US firm Mylan, Heather Bresch saw her pay increase from $2,453,456 (£1,853,763) to $18,931,068 (£14,303,791) in the same period the cost of the drug rose.

follow the money


Linda said...

Mylan's stock fell dramatically following the negative publicity. Now they are offering more coupons to help patients. But not everyone meets the terms for the coupons. It's a racket!