An insult to insulin users


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The price of insulin has increased over the past year.

Genna Sheriff, Staff Writer

According to the CDC, over the past 20 years, the number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes has tripled, with more than 30 million Americans diagnosed. Diabetes affects the way people process food and sugar through either not producing enough insulin or not making any at all. There are three main types: type one, type two and gestational diabetes, which occurs in pregnant women.

People with type one diabetes must take insulin to stay alive because their body does not make any. Those with type two are able to make insulin, but their bodies do not use it normally. In some cases, people with type two diabetes have to take insulin as well. With only name brand insulin products being produced and their prices continuously going up, some diabetics are left making life-threatening decisions.

In a study conducted by the American Diabetes Association, it was found that over the past year, 39 percent of insulin users surveyed had an increase in the price they pay personally for their insulin. Those who saw an increase in price had to make some tough choices regarding their insulin usage. Some switched to cheaper and less effective alternatives while others either took it less frequently or rationed it out. For many, they also had to choose between paying for their insulin and paying for other medical needs and bills.

The reason for an increase in prices is due to the difficulty and cost to produce insulin, government regulations and an obvious want for companies to make a profit above anything else. Producing a generic version of insulin would be a solution to help out diabetics, but it is not realistic. The process of making insulin involves creating a bacteria that would produce large amounts of insulin that could then be injected into humans. Finding a way to make the same bacteria similar enough at a reasonable price is a challenge for most manufacturers. This is due to the fact that there are only three pharmaceutical companies that produce insulin, which makes it difficult for other companies to manufacture biosimilar products. Those who do find a way to manufacture similar insulin often find themselves wrapped up in a lawsuit with one of the three pharmaceutical companies.

While there are no generic insulin options available at this time, there are still ways to prevent resorting to rationing their insulin or skipping doses altogether. Rationing or skipping out on insulin may result in many other health problems and in some cases death. Before someone reaches that point, talk to a doctor about cheaper alternatives and stand up for affordable insulin with state legislatures and the American Diabetes Association.

For more information on the American Diabetes Association, go to their website: