The cost of InsulinPosted: February 19, 2009
A bit of a rant…
Why is a bottle of insulin so expensive? This story explains some of it. Then at the bottom there is a link to Henry Waxman’s Access to Life Saving Medicine Act. In many countries, Insulin of various types is inexpensive based on the US standard of income. If we could go there and purchase it, it would cost us nothing…but the overseas flight.
What happens when the cost of insulin as a percentage of total income monthly is 30-45%? This happens now in many poorer countries, and price creep here in the US is setting what I see as an alarming trend towards it being a fact here as well. There are places where children diagnosed with diabetes are allowed to DIE because the family would literally starve as a whole to keep the sick child alive.
My employer provided insurance plan (which is generally amazing and very much appreciated) offers 90 day prescriptions. Each time I fill a script for either or both of my two boys, it is wrong. I have to take everything out of the bags and count it, and compare it to the list. I feel the insurance companies OR pharmacies skim my order, but I digress that point. Yesterday, when trying to fill a single 90 prescription for Insulin pens for my eldest son, it was refused because the prescription cost was ‘over $1500.00’. Think about that. This is 1 of 11 prescriptions I fill for my sons. Uncovered, it is $500 per month. He takes two types of Insulin, and I would have 10 more scripts to fill EVERY month. I earn a decent salary, but if these meds were out of pocket, we would be living in a van down by the river, or I would be robbing pharmacies to get meds for my kids.
Our health care system right now serves only Big Pharma, and Big Insurance. They have the game so locked up that the prices are high enough for them to make a set margin no matter what the coverage. With a single payer, non-profit system and legislation that forces patent busting in these specialized cases( allowing generics to be produced and distributed cheaply), everyone with diabetes OR other daily, chronic illness that REQUIRES meds to keep them alive would be within reach of anyone with any full time job. When all this bullshit about those opposed to national health care hits CNN in the next news cycle, think about what you would do with no insurance and a child who needed $1000 worth of meds a month. Now think about the meds being $50-75 due to generics. Better?
If you think you get pissed about gas being $4.00 a gallon, think about having to choose between $4.00 gas and keeping your children alive with insulin at $500 per month. Now think about not being able to afford gas, so you can’t go to work. Now, you lose your job, and have to carry the full cost of scripts. A mess.
Life saving medicine needs to be cheap and plentiful, and this needs to happen ASAP.