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Old 06-18-2019, 08:12 AM
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Broomstick is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 29,047

The High Price of Insulin Is Killing US Citizens

Note the title. Note the "US Citizens". That's very important, because it's not happening in the UK or France or Britain or Australia or really anywhere else even slightly modern/technological.

The price of insulin has skyrocketed in the last few decades, doubling between 2012 and 2016. This has resulted in people losing access to insulin, to having to choose between rent and insulin, to people suffering side effects like kidney problems, blindness, and even death because they rationed their limited supplies too much. Go to GoFundMe and type "insulin" into the search engine and you'll get more than 7000 hits of people essentially begging for help to purchase the medicine that keeps them alive. Americans near international borders cross them to purchase insulin in another country because it's cheaper to travel to a foreign country to pay cash on the counter than what they can get though the jacked up health "coverage" system in the US.

It's more than sad, it's disgusting. Of the three people who developed insulin to treat diabetes one refused any compensation and the other two sold their discovery for a mere $1 because they wanted this live-saving substance to be easily accessible to all. That was back in 1923 - insulin is NOT a new drug. Humalin has been on the market since 1982, it's not new, either.

The drug companies keep coming out with new tweaks and new formulas to justify keeping this under patent and jacking up the costs but really, basic insulin should be made and available to all who need it as a cost that can actually be met without destitution and ruin. There is no reason this can't be done other than greed and callous indifference to suffering, disability, and death.

I'm frustrated because I know people this is affecting. I know a young man who only uses insulin every other day, and even that supply is unsteady. I suspect he's selling illicit drugs to get the money to pay for his insulin as his low-level retail job isn't sufficient. By which I mean the cost of his insulin per month exceeds his GROSS income. He lives at home with his parents, who cover his food costs, he has no car, no rent, etc. His entire income is insufficient to cover the cost of the insulin necessary to keep him alive. This has been the case since he hit 26 and was no longer covered by his parents insurance. Due to untreated diabetes he is not in good physical health which makes holding down even a part time job difficult. He is slowly dying.

I'm frustrated and angry because a co-worker of mine, although in a financially better situation with a full time job and some health coverage is still stretched to the limit and terrified a day is approaching when she, too, can not afford the medicine that keeps her alive. This is a woman who works full time, has health coverage, and usually skips lunch in order to scrape together a few more pennies to buy insulin. The mental stress of only being sure she has enough to keep herself alive for a month or even as little as a week at a time is frightening to see.

A local acquaintance died from this - first she started to have kidney problems, then her vision deteriorated, then she had to have a toe amputated, then a foot... one day she was found dead in her apartment with no food in the refrigerator and no insulin. She had run out, could not get more, and simply fell into a coma and died. Her landlord found her - he'd come to ask about the rent months past due. Apparently the utilities had been shut off as well. In other words, literally every cent this woman had went to trying to buy insulin - not to shelter, not to food, not to anything but trying to get her medicine. And it wasn't enough.

That's just three of the people I know/knew.

This is happening every goddamned day in the US. And no one seems to give a fuck. Or at least, not anyone with the power to change things. The drug companies are charging what the market will bear, and then some. I dunno, maybe they assume people will pay ANYTHING to survive, which is true up to a point... but at some point best effort still isn't good enough. Of course, the poor are hardest hit and least cared about, but it's getting bad enough to affect the middle class now - and such middle class folks will soon become poor.

I'm mad as hell - but can't do a goddamned thing about it. Oh, I suppose I could kick a few bucks to the folks I know personally - although how much that's going to help with these people needing $1000+ a month (for the ones with insurance!) is debatable at best. I don't report people bending/breaking laws to stay alive. No way in hell I'd admit to wrong-doing myself in a public forum but let's just say that I put saving a life above a lot of other things I would normally adhere to. More than willing to drive people to doctor visits or hospitals even as I gnash my teeth over peoples' bodies being destroyed by something we've been able to treat for nearly a century now.

Really makes me want to scream.

If I won a really big lottery prize I'd set up a charity to cover these cost for people. I'd buy a few Congresspeople and Senators to change the laws. I'd set up a company to manufacture a generic in direct competition to the current assholes. Fuck, I don't know.