RIDGELAND, MS (WLBT) –
The escalating price of insulin is putting diabetes patients at risk, according to the Â Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. One in four people with the disease reports rationing or cutting back on their insulin because of the high costs.
They are put in the position of making life threatening choices.
“I’m on two different types of insulin. My pancreas does not make insulin,” said Shannon McAdams who was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of six.
The Brandon residents insulin to control her diabetes costs more thanÂ $500.00 a vial.Â
The 55-year-old is now disabled and on Medicaid but prior to that would choose take life threatening risks, even going without eating, to make her insulin last longer.
“There have been times when I didn’t have insurance, and I had to make it last,” said McAdams. “So I would nurse it as much as I possibly could, and I’ve been to the emergency room. I didn’t have the medication. I didn’t have the money”.
The Diabetes Foundation of MS receives seven to 10 calls per day from patientsÂ asking for assistance with the cost of insulin.
Officials say the cost of a vial of insulin has risen from about $45.00 in the 1990’s to $300.00 to $400.00 today.
“The U.S. pays the most for insulin in the entire world,” said Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi Associate Director Irena McClain.
Why the dramatic increase? McClain said pharmaceutical companies have given them no answers, but they try to find solutions.
“A lot of the insulin companies they do have assistance programs, and people have to meet certain financial guidelines for them. We get insulin donated to us by people and by companies and we donate it to people through their medical teams,” added McClain.
The non-profit uses 88% of its funds for patient medical supplies, educational resources and other patient assistance.
McAdams now volunteers with the Diabetes Foundation of MS and has a message for pharmaceutical companies.
“I feel like if it would affect them on that personal level they might think. They might rethink,” added McAdams.
The Diabetes Foundation reports that there are 373,000 people diagnosed with the disease in the state.
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