Health and Wellness

The Cost of Diabetes


About 1.6 million people Americans are living with type one diabetes. That included the diabetic youth and adults in the country. Now compared to the total people living in America it may not seem like that many people, but the amount that these people have to pay just to live is a much greater amount.

 The amount people with type one diabetes has to be about $2,500 a year, though some patients says they have to pay $5,000 out of pocket. That is with insurance. Imagine if the diabetic didn’t have health insurance, they would never be able to pay it, even with insurance my family struggles to pay for my own supplies. The average costs per vial of insulin can be from $175 to $300. The average diabetic needs about three of these vials each month which would mean those three vials price ranges from $525 to $900 just to be able to live for one month. Can you just imagine how much that would cost for a year? It is insane $6,300 to $10,800 a year insane. The number doesn’t even include all of the medical equipment that is required just the hormone that our bodies cannot produce. The prices of our medical supplies are only rising. The creators of insulin was Sir Frederick G Banting, Charles H Best, and JJR Macleod. When insulin was originally patented it was only $1 per vial, because the creators wanted everyone to be able to afford it. You can see how that changed.

Now let’s take a look at how much money it takes to produce this life saving hormone that is $175 to $300 a vial. One vial of human insulin only costs $2.28 to $3.42 and one vial of analog insulin costs only $3.69 to $6.16 to produce. So why is insulin so expensive? Well, I got 8 reasons for you. First only 3 companies control 90% of the global insulin market. These companies can set the prices how they wish in the countries they are in. Second there is no generic insulin. Since insulin is a therapeutic biological product, we cannot make them generic like other drugs can be made generic. Third the pay-for-delay schemes and lawsuits. Here the big insulin companies will sue and pay new up and coming insulin companies to stay out of the market. Fourth are the patents on insulin. The person that owns the insulin patents monopoly on insulin. In America these patents can last 20 years, but companies have found loopholes to prolong these patents.  Fifth reason is the politics, yay politics always make things fun. Companies also profit billions of dollars, so they spend millions of dollars on marketing and lobbying to keep politics about price gouging. Sixth reason is the price fixing each time the price rises other companies rise their prices which causes the other companies to rise their price and so on. Seventh reason pharma marketing schemes. Physicians are allowed to collect fees from pharmaceutical companies for talks, advice, and more. Finally, the eighth reason payment for influence or silence. Many major key opinion leaders, influencers, and patient advocacy organizations are paid to stay quiet by the insulin manufacturers.

There are plenty of people living with diabetes that have to skip on their insulin doses just to be able to afford either more supplies or other basic human needs just so they can live. Now there are organizations that can help families pay for their supplies, but it is still very expensive to pay the remaining costs. But with all of that talk about the medical supplies I didn’t even mention the costs of the hospital checkups that diabetic have to go to every month. We have to speak to our doctor and see if any of our numbers need to be changed and test for other disease that diabetics are susceptible to. Some diabetics don’t go to their appointments or even create them because they already can’t cover the costs of the supplies let alone the checkups.

Besides the financial cost there is also an emotional and metal cost that comes with diabetes. A lot of patients with diabetes experience a diabetic burn out where they just don’t take care of themselves anyone. I also have experienced this for also a whole year I didn’t test my blood sugar or input my insulin because I was so tired of having to do this every single day. So are a lot of other diabetics that severely struggle with this, and a lot never get any help for it and unfortunately pass away from it. Hopefully in the future both costs of diabetes go down.

By Haley Beyersdoerfer, Activist Writer

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