November is National Diabetes Month. 

It is great to promote conversation and awareness about a disease affecting nearly 30 million people in the US, so I thought it timely to focus on the unaffordable cost of insulin and other medications needed to treat this potentially debilitating disease.

Having been a Type 1 Diabetic since 1967 I’ve seen the price of this life-saving drug skyrocket over this time frame. It’s frightening. From less than $2.00 per vial to more than $300.00 per vial today. I use 3.5 vials per month.

As insurance becomes more elusive for many and out of pocket costs and deductibles make it unreachable for those with insurance, I wonder where we will be 10 years from now as the rate of new diabetics increases at alarming rates.  

Many Type 1 Diabetics have been forced to reduce their prescribed doses or eliminate them completely as the cost is simply out of reach. Americans have turned to Canada to buy insulin at a much lower cost. Doesn’t it seem unAmerican the US has no price limits placed on manufacturers or retailers like our neighbor to the north?

If every insulin dependent diabetic in this country purchased the drug from Canada would the manufacturers and retailers finally reduce the costs?

Manufacturers and lobbyists say its not about profits, but I question that.  When Merck tried to manufacturer a generic insulin one of their competitors filed a lawsuit and Merck aborted this effort. 

Why did they stop making beef and pork insulin when the newer insulins came along? Many patients could still use that version and the price would be much less than the genetically engineered insulin produced today.

What do we need to do to ensure that all people get their life-saving medication?

I applaud the state of Colorado for becoming the first to cap monthly insulin costs at $100.00. That law will do much to improve the lives of many who otherwise would not be able to obtain their much-needed insulin.

I do celebrate National Diabetes Month, but I celebrate the efforts of Colorado more as they are actually making change!

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