Diabetes Medicine Can’t Be Afforded by Low-Income Patients


Aside from being a time of innovation, discovery, and progress, the age we’re currently living in has also become a sort of time of paradoxes. We’d expect many things to go far differently with the type of cultural, technological, and scientific advances we’ve made over the years, but for some, things are worse than ever.

This is because while a great part of the population is barely struggling to live from day to day, even in first world countries like our beloved USA, others are just trying to come up with ways to make more money off of them. Remember Martin Shkreli, the Pharma executive and hedge fund manager that raised the price of an HIV pill from $13.50 to $750 overnight?

Well, the truth is that executives like that are hiding behind every corner, each one as focused on profits over people as Shkreli was, but most of them smart enough to keep it hidden. And few markets show this as plainly as the pharmaceuticals market.

For example, to the indignation and exasperation of medical experts all over the country, diabetes medicine can’t be afforded by low-income patients. Over the past five years alone, diabetes medication companies have raised the price of insulin by as much as a whopping 325 percent.

And there are multiple reasons for this, not that that helps the many people doomed to lose limbs or die because they have to choose between making rent and buying their medicine. Still, doctors are sick and tired of having patients come in, be diagnosed with diabetes, and then never showing up again because of their embarrassment at not being able to afford the treatment.

According to Dr. Anne Camp, endocrinologist with the Fair Haven Community Health Center, she has seen a great many patients that

[…] referred to me because their diabetes is out of control, and the major reason is that they can’t afford their insulin. Many other patients are prescribed insulin, and they don’t return for a follow-up, because they are too embarrassed to admit they can’t afford it.

One of the main reasons for which this is happening is that there are only three companies out there in the Unites States that have the right to make the diabetes medicine – Eli Lily, Novo Norodisk, and Sanofi. All of these have made at least $12 billion in profits in 2014, and all of them have raised the price of insulin by between 168 and 325 percent.

And with the rates of diabetes also climbing dramatically, with 2015 reporting 19.5 percent more cases in 2015 than in 2014, it’s very difficult to see how patients that make even $30,000 a year can afford to spend at least $600 on diabetes medicine alone.

Image source: Pixabay