The Impact of Rising Insulin Costs

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store for future use. Insulin helps keeps your blood sugar level from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia). For individuals with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, insulin is life-saving.

Insulin prices have skyrocketed. As costs continue to go up, more individuals are finding it difficult to afford the medications they need to remain healthy. According to GoodRx (an app that helps patients save up to 80% on their medications from their local pharmacies), the average price of insulin tripled between 2002 and 2013; then it rose another 64% since 2013. Long-acting and rapid-acting insulins have helped individuals manage their blood sugar levels better, but they come at a high cost. The average cost of one 10mL vial of Lantus is $332, Novolog Flexpens are $134 each, and a vial of Levemeir is $368 (prices as of July 2018). Without quality insurance, the news is full of stories about individuals having to choose between insulin and basic needs. This is what many of our patients are facing.

Uncontrolled diabetes can result in cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, difficulty in healing from wounds, nerve damage, vision deterioration or blindness, hearing impairment, amputation of the foot, and depression. These complications are even more costly than the insulin to manage or repair.

Due to both the rising costs of insulin and the increasing number of people diagnosed with diabetes, our clinic is seeking sustainable ways to best serve our patients. We are assisting patients apply to prescription assistance from the drug manufacturers. Our medication room continues to provide insulin to patients on a regular basis. If you are interested in helping us to continue providing insulin and other medications to those in need in our community, we would greatly appreciate a one-time financial gift or monthly support of our medication room.

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