Every month, I rely on three prescriptions worth $1,619 to simply survive. It is $1,034 for one insulin, $489 for a different insulin and $96 for glucose testing strips.
There is something inherently wrong with that. I don’t have many fears in life but one of them is the unknown and there are a lot of unknowns in a diabetic’s life. One main looming unknown is that once I turn 26 I will no longer be supported by my parents health insurance, and my prescriptions will come out of my pocket.
This is an issue so many in this world face whether it is diabetics or another chronic illness. Pharmaceutical companies exploit people who need medication to survive. These companies make it so hard for the working person to pay for their needed prescriptions so that they can make profit and watch their pockets grow fatter.
Although I am lucky enough to not have this problem because my parents’ health insurance has been mostly good at covering costs of my prescriptions, over 1.3 million diabetics have reported that they have rationed their insulin according to a study done by the Harvard Medical School and the City University of New York’s Hunter College. That means 16.5% of adults who are dependent on insulin did not take their full doses due to the cost of the drug.
A Yale study found that 14% of people who use insulin in the U.S. face “catastrophic” levels of spending on insulin, meaning they spent at least 40% of what is available after paying for food and housing on insulin.
This is a major problem people should be more aware of. I think people often hear insulin prices are high or they continue to rise, but I feel a lot of people are not aware of the meaning behind it.
To put it bluntly, if people ration their insulin like the study had shown, it means they are at a life-threatening risk for their short term and long term health.
In the short term, rationing could result in diabetic ketoacidosis which would result in hospitalization. It could also result in losing a large amount of weight, not having nutrients needed in the body and could result in dropping somewhere unconscious due to DKA.
Long term consequences of rationing insulin could result in blindness, loss of limbs and potential early death.
Not all 1.3 million people who have reported to ration insulin will go through these things but a vast amount could. This scares me. I cannot imagine a world where I have to pay for groceries, rent, everyday needs, emergency needs, car bills and more on top of having to pay $1,619 a month to survive.
It is disgusting that companies can rule people’s lives and make it near impossible to pay these bills. On top of the physical effects it can bring to someone, it can also bring an overwhelming amount of mental stress which is a topic for another time.
Header Photo: Courtesy Luke Jackson
Write to Luke Jackson at Luke.email@example.com