Diabetes Management and The Rising Cost of Insulin
Living diabetes is expensive, no doubt about it. Between test strips, insulin, and a pump (if you have one), it is hardly a surprise that the costs keep adding up. For some, insurance can help to alleviate some of the burden, but some diabetics are concerned that the costs are still too high.
In the case of insulin, those worrying over rising prices are right; the Journal of American Medicine Association has found that insulin costs tripled from 2002-2013, from $231 to $736.
According to Amber Healy, an assistant professor of diabetology, these rising prices are a significant cause for concern. “The rising costs of insulin make it harder for patients to afford other necessities like food, utilities, rent and medication for other members of their household.”
The rising cost of insulin can have a devastating impact on the economy as a whole. At this point, there are roughly 30 million people in the United States living with some form of diabetes – 30 million people whose everyday necessities are becoming more difficult to purchase.
In an interview with her local news station, type 1 diabetic Debbie Mcculloch-Kitts vented her frustrations over the costs of insulin. Although her insulin costs her around $1,500 per month, she knows that without the drug she will be much worse off.
“It just feels like they are taking advantage of people,” she said. “It just makes you feel very vulnerable and very angry.”
While the rising costs of live-saving medication seems like an unavoidable evil (consider Mylan's unscrupulous price hikes for the EpiPen), it seems that people might be taking a stand for diabetics.
Physicians across the country are voicing their concern over rising prices. Utah Dr. Tyler N. Brown, for example, recently summed up the issue in a terrific op-ed, saying:
“For the sake of those affected and for the sake of our health care system as a whole, we must continue to pursue options and policies that support reasonable pricing of medications for those whose lives literally depend upon it.”
General public outrage also speaks volumes to big drug companies like Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi. After all, it wasn't until people with food allergies spoke out that Mylan released a cheaper, generic version of the EpiPen. Perhaps, with enough voices speaking out, we can ebb the rising costs of insulin and diabetes medications.