Why do I need a prescription?

My sons are Type 1 Diabetic. This means, for the duration of their lives until a cure is found, they need insulin to live. Insulin, to them, is life support. Insulin is not a cure, but a means of keeping them alive until a cure is found.

Why then, do they (or I) need to see a doctor OR get a prescription to buy insulin? The fact that they need it has been established. The word NEED means it is not optional, i.e. they WILL die without it. The federal government is tracking how much Claritin D I buy with my drivers license. Why can they not establish permanent ‘right to buy’ for insulin? Here is the scenario- I go in to refill a script for Novalog. The pharmacy cannot dispense it because the prescription is out of refills. They call the doctor. The Doctor says ‘we will give you a refill, but we need to see them soon”. Why?” I understand that a doctor wants to check on your insulin therapy, to correct dosages, etc, but why the dependency on the visit to GET the drug? It is FUCKED.

The older I get, the less patient I am becoming regarding the lame ass excuses I hear from politicians and people on ‘why’ we do not have universal health care. The reason is, for both my question on prescriptions AND universal health care is that the lobbyist for ‘insurance’ agencies own Washington. At some point, and we are very close to it now, the system is going to break, and people are going to demand logical, even application of basic domestic social policies. Health care should be a RIGHT given the United States’ position as the richest country in the world, a ‘nation builder’, and the worlds (if sometimes unwanted) police force. Many people do not even realize that the health care given to our soldiers SUCKS, and the health care they get if they are the spouses of soldiers sucks. All this is easily fixable. We need lobbyists OUT of Washington, the dissolution (yes, that means END) to private insurance, and the BEST coverage for all Americans, be they here or deployed overseas OR left home to raise the family while their S/O fights, even if we agree with the motives for the war, we need to protect and support the warriors.

This is a bit rambling, but point being, once diagnosed, an insulin dependent diabetic should be able to purchase insulin (which should also be subsidized, like Chicken and MILK are) OTC without a script. This drug should be bought in such quantities by the government as to render it affordable to ALL within America based on the lowest common denominator of income, i.e. perhaps a percentage of taxable income. I am not talking about Viagra, or birth control, or cholesterol meds. I am talking about the classification of medication that are LIFE SUSTAINING. Can’t get it up? Tough. Hi Cholesterol? Tough (although this COULD be considered life sustaining, you will not die for sure within 2 weeks if you stop taking it). Birth control? Tough. Condoms, or buy it out of pocket, cause you ain’t gonna die if you don’t get laid, although for some it might seem this way.

My children will DIE if they do not have insulin. There is little I would not do to provide it. I should not even have to THINK about this. Let’s get it done. Call/write/think. National Healthcare NOW!

The cost of Insulin

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.

The $100 Insulin Pump

We have had the $100 laptop.

Cell phones are damn near free and contain INCREDIBLE levels of electronics and tech.

Why can I not get an insulin pump for my 2 diabetic boys for $100? I am not believing the technology is not there to support that price point. A week ago, I watched a ton of TED conferences, and since I can’t speak at TED ( yet), my dream idea for the world right now is the $100 insulin pump.

8% of ALL Americans are Diabetic, either Type 1 or Type 2. There are dramatic differences in the two main types (there are subtypes of each), but the main thing is, Type 1 is an autoimmune disease, Type 2 is typically a lifestyle disease ( overweight, diet, etc). the risks for each health wise, and the costs of dealing with it are similar.

An Insulin Pump is in effect a robotic pancreas. The user has to learn to calibrate it to his or her metabolism and diet, but a pump is THE most effective way to keep diabetes under control for most sufferers, which in turn lowers their short and long term health risks and costs. Insulin Pumps currently cost between $3500 to roughly $8000, and few insurers will cover this cost. They are not only expensive to purchase, but they are expensive to replace.They seem rather delicate given our ability to make phones that can survive hammer impacts and immersion in water. Unless I am missing something, an insulin pump is nothing more than a fluid delivery systems with a digital control interface on it, and a flow that is calibrated by the interface.  If this were a Nintendo Controller, there would be 20 knockoffs at Target for $29.99. Is the cost liability? Patents? I do not care. I want a $100 insulin pump. And, just in case you are a smart ass, I want one that EXCEEDS the capabilities of the current top models, is weather proof, shock proof, and generally ruggedized, with a USB interface on it. If you know some one who can build one, send them this post.

Jimmy Carter has a degree in Physics, yet….

Settle down. Obama won. Most people I know are happy, the others are waiting to start the “see-see, I told you he would/wouldn’t BS.” Thinking about how Bush may be our generations Nixon (Nixon was a WAY smarter man) and Obama might fit as Carter ( Ford does not really count, as he was the Dan Quayle to Nixon, i.e. a non-entity). My hope is that Obama beats all expectations. Jimmy Carter is one of the smartest Presidents we have had. Yet,  in most circles, his Presidency is considered an abject failure, even though he accomplished some very visionary things during his term. He continues to work tirelessly on a variety of admirable things and occasionally drops a book on us that gets everyone talking about tough subjects.

My hope is, Obama can out think and bridge things politically that Carter was not able to do, and Obama can do it with enough velocity to carry him into an even more successful 2nd term. I have not in my adult life been truly excited for a man to take office. Even as I draw this comparison to another ex President that I personally admire greatly but many cannot stand, I am so full of opitmism about Obama that I cannot see how he will fail unless WE fail him.