Follow by Email

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Insulin Doesn’t Grow On Trees

I had a visit with the doc today, I was happy when I walked in and saw a piggy bank for a diabetes fundraiser at the front desk.  Though it wasn’t much, I emptied my wallet into that piggy.  I probably looked like I had robbed a Super Mario Brother because coins were rolling over the counter into the receptionist’s lap.  I refused to stop until I had shoved every last one into that pig.  They thanked me, I thanked them, and they waved me in without charging a Co-Pay…NICE!  I am sure I’ll see a bill for that shortly, but nevertheless, I was in a good mood just knowing people care about curing D.    

They took my blood pressure and it showed on the high side.  I get nervous at the doc, “white coat syndrome” and all and so I wondered if it was because of that.  After the doc checked me out, he had the nurse take it again.  It showed higher.  Then she tried another blood pressure cuff which showed way lower (over 20 points!).  Um, if I’m at the mercy of these devices, shouldn’t they be accurate???  Nurse shrugged her shoulders.  Doc contemplates putting me on a new med. Another prescription?  Not happy at all.

I had a talk with the doc because, even with insurance, the prescription costs are getting out of hand.  In addition to diabetes supplies, I’m also on a couple of non diabetes meds.  Prescriptions are expensive.  Insulin doesn’t grow on trees, and there is no generic form of insulin.  Doc was a sweetheart and brought me two free vials of insulin, a very kind gesture for which I am grateful. 

I have to wonder though, back when I was eighteen and newly diagnosed, I was dropped from my parents insurance.  I used to have to pay for insulin (and strips, syringes, etc) at retail prices on my security guard salary.  I was not in nearly as tight control as I am now, and I’m pretty sure I barely ever ate.  If I remember correctly, it was about $20 a bottle when I was eighteen – now a bottle can go for well over a hundred dollars without insurance.  Do they harvest it from Unicorns now?  Just how the heck did it get so expensive?


  1. ACK!

    I *hate* to hear about PWD struggling to get the meds they need.

    I HATE IT!!

    Praying for you, my friend.

  2. The size of the BP cuff can make a difference in the BP...

    Anyway...UGH...on the meds and the cost. Love your DOC. That was a nice gesture indeed. Please keep us up-to-date on your BP. I hope that it is OK. xo

  3. I get so annoyed when costs of life/death supplies continues to go up. Thank God for insurance, but now I'll NEVER be able to leave my husband!! LOL J/K!!!


  4. It surely doesn't grow on trees.
    I can buy a bottle over the counter for $30 here but then they won't give me a receipt to submit. If I buy it through my benefits I have to pay 20% of it and they charge about $100.
    does that make ANY SENSE AT ALL?! no.

  5. Hey Meagan
    While yes costs for insulin and other diabetes supplies are outrageous especially those damn test strips. I have heard us PWD's being referred to as cash cows and why not, we are a bunch of people who need these drugs to survive and with little in form of alternatives and no free market system at work. My conspiracy theories hat is firmly planted in my head right now. Why if doctors for example know the truth about our need to test frequently do they not stand up for us when Insurance companies come up with these policies limiting how many test strips we get in a script and if they are so concerned about the cost why not pressure the strip makes to come up with reusable or generic strips that would lower the costs for everyone huh! yet we do not hear anyone coming to our aid. Its a massive conspiracy I tell
    on a serious note however I just wanted to direct you to an international diabetes federation campaign for outrage if you haven't had a chance to see it, When I was made aware of it, it made me feel rotten spoiled because like you at least we have an opportunity to get the insulin even if its a bit expensive, now imagine not being able to get the insulin because the $100 price per bottle is so astronomical. There are kids dying on a daily basis because they cannot get the life saving insulin they need and that is an outrage don't you think. Here is the link to the IDF outrage campaign is please join me and others in the DOC in spreading this message. thanks

  6. This post really reminded me of how lucky I am, here in England, to have the NHS system whereby all of my medication and prescriptions are free of charge. I think it's so easy, because we don't know any different, to take that for granted.
    To be honest, I think it's disgusting that any patient should have to buy any medication that keeps them alive - insurance or no insurance!
    Well done for donating towards a cure for the D! :)

  7. When it did get so expensive, and WT Fructose does it cost so much? Questions asked each and every day... Answer, as far away as the cure, apparently.

  8. What a nice endo! The expenses are ridiculous. :(

  9. Ditto on the frustrations of these things we need costing so much money. I hate that we have so much of our already-to-small income tied up into medicine.

  10. "White coat syndrome" funny! :)

    I know what you mean about the cost of meds even with ins. We have great ins and the pharmacy still drains us.

    Just a thought though... search the internet or call the drug company about a discount card. Justin's seizure meds are $100 a month. I found a coupon that I could print for $75 dollars off and have used it on the last 3 fills. I was SO excited. Worth a shot.

  11. I'm sorry to hear about these frustrations. I try as much as I can not to think about it too much, but it can't be avoided all the time and indeed, our meds don't grow on trees nor does money. :(

    I hopped over here from Mike's blog to thank you for your kind and supportive comments on Caleb's posts. :) I think Caleb knows, and may even take for granted, that there will always be support there for him. :)

  12. The ethics of profiting on life and death medications is clear, it is unacceptable. The cost to make these medications is likely on the order of $5.00 a vial. The crime does not stop there, the original patent for insulin was sold for $1.00 to encourage drug companies to offer insulin at the lowest possible price. So much for that. It was invented 90 years ago, do you think that the costs have been recouped on that discovery? Test strips main component comes from radishes, how many test strips can you make from a radish? Clearly they are way out of control on prices. I switched to a ReliOn test device because I can pick up 50 test strips for under $10. I have paid as much as $104.00 for the same amount from companies such as One touch ultra.

    With the growing number of diabetics, and the escalating cost of insulin it is unconscionable to sell at the prices that you see. I read a study recently stating that insulin is largely unaffordable around the world. Oh well, your diabetic, you get to die. It is infuriating that this is allowed in developed and third world conuntries alike. Insurance gets involved too, they gather up the profits as well by bumping up their copays and deductibles until you are buying at retail price most of the year anyway.

    Pharmacuetical companies create new versions of the same drug, add on the patent costs and pass them on to you. When is the last time a cure has been developed? No, there are no cures, just a growing list of lifetime medications to take. The medications by themselves create further problems that they develop new drugs to add on. Doctors do not have the time to understand how all the new drugs interact but are incentivised by the drug companies to prescribe what they manufacture, talk about a conflict of interest!

    I am sorry to be venting my frustration here, but then again, why not? Complacency doesn't bring about change.