Last week’s presidential debate made many Americans think about shots. Some of those included insulin shots. Interpret the rest as you may.
In the midst of a global pandemic, it seems that other medical issues and debates have been thrown aside. Sadly, these issues can determine who lives and dies in our country.
Over the past 20 years, Big Pharmaceuticals like Eli Lily, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi, have dominated the insulin industry and caused prices to increase by close to 1200%. For explanation, insulin is a hormone used by both type one and two diabetics to help regulate blood sugar levels. This means that these Big Pharma’s incomes derive 99.9% from those suffering from pre-existing conditions, and the other .01% really enjoy the smell of hospital storages rooms.
President Donald Trump attempted to tackle this concept during his most recent broadcast anxiety-inducing appearance, aka The Presidential Debate. Not only were his interruptive remarks combative, but his answers inflicted pure anger to the members of the diabetic community.
“Insulin, it’s going to — it was destroying families, destroying people,” he said. “The cost, I’m getting it for so cheap it’s like water.”
Typically, people with diabetes go through two to three vials a month. A bottle of insulin can cost up to $350 per vial, and this is the cost of a diabetic’s life for one month. People are worth far more than a $1.99 Poland Springs water bottle.
In an effort to work his way around addressing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) properly, as it affects millions of Americans, Trump’s comment did more harm than good. With insulin prices continually rising, it has forced some Americans to ration out their overall insulin intake to save money, leading to more cases of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) and rapidly rising diabetic death rates. Insulin is not equivalent to rationing your White Claws for Labor Day Weekend.
DKA is almost the physical embodiment of watching that first debate. It first starts out as a headache, then you start drinking like crazy (again, interpret that as you may), before your body begins to eat you from the inside out. Insulin is a necessity to function properly.
Similar to when I experienced DKA for the first and hopefully last time, Trump is failing to function for the benefit of the American people. After over four years of pledging to get rid of Obamacare, lower drug prices, and in his own terms “help people,” it seems that nothing has been done.
In my microscopic two years as a type one diabetic, I have already seen major price jumps in my life saving medication that make me fear what my future may look like. We all know the satisfaction a nice old glass of water gives us. So, shouldn’t the reasonable and “cheap” equivalent of insulin be a given to all regardless of the price?
I’ll take a shot for that one.