Diabetics fight back as insulin prices skyrocket

Posted at 5:36 PM, Dec 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-10 22:13:00-05

Valerie Floyd-Hagewood was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 18-years-old. Nearly 36 years later, insulin prices have soared. 

Floyd-Hagewood said, "I know right now if I didn't have insurance, my insulin would be about $1,900 a month."

During a tough time in life, Floyd-Hagewood said she stopped taking her insulin and was hospitalized. 

Floyd-Hagewood said, "Had small children, in between jobs, I couldn't afford it, and I had to choose whether or not to feed my kids or take my insulin, and I know people go through that struggle every day."

After decades of doctors notes and letters to manufacturers, Floyd-Hagewood now has insulin that she can afford. 

"I'm fortunate I work for a company that has good insurance, so right now it costs me like $25 a month," Floyd-Hagewood said.

According to Jenny Holder with the non-profit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, not all families have won the fight for cheaper insulin.

Holder said, "A few weeks ago, we had a mom call in to the office and she was leaving an emergency room visit with a child that was newly diagnosed that was 6-years-old... and she said 'I have 72 dollars in my checking account and I don't have insulin what do I do?'" 

JDRF helped the new mom find insulin for the child.

Holder said, "More people are diagnosed with Type 1 every day. There's about one diagnosis a day at our local children's hospitals."

Diabetics dream of a cure to Type 1 Diabetes. Until then, they will keep taking insulin. 

Floyd-Hagewood said, "It's cheaper to fix it on the front end than the back end."

Advocates are going to keep fighting and campaigning for healthcare companies to make insulin prices reasonable.

Holder said, "We go to the hill every year and we talk with our local congressmen and senators about the Coverage 2 Controlwhich is really the biggest push that JDRF has."

It's hard to pinpoint a single reason why insulin prices have skyrocketed because our healthcare structure is complicated. According to Ely Lilly, an insulin drug manufacturer, they are aware of concerns.They now have a hotline you can call if you can't afford your insulin and need help. It's 1-833-808-1234 or you can go online to their website.