HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) â€” For Type 1 Diabetics, insulin is a matter of life and death.
“Our bodies don’t produce insulin,” said David Cockley, a type 1 diabetic in the Shenandoah Valley. “We can’t take an aspirin and fix this problem,”
But as the cost of the drug continues to rise, it is causing concern for diabetics just like Cockley around the nation.
“I’ve been a diabetic for my entire adult life,” said Cockley, a 24-year professor at James Madison University. “Early on, you could go to the local pharmacy and get a bottle of insulin for a couple of dollars at the most. Now, if I have to buy my insulin directly…it’s $300 to $400 a vial.”
For diabetics, a vial of insulin may last for a week, but sometimes less than that â€” creating a substantial issue for those without insurance.
In fact, The Journal of the American Medical Association released a study that shows insulin prices nearly tripling from 2003 to 2013, and the prices have continued to rise since then.
Cockley says “It’s going to keep going up,” and he believes the five companies dominating the insulin market will continue to raise prices as long as there is no federal cap.
“There is no generic out there for insulin, so there is no way to get savings in that way either.”
Right now, Cockley does not see this issue stopping anytime soon. However, he hopes the Medicaid expansion in Virginia will assist those diabetics in the state without insurance.
“Of course, as a diabetic, I think it’s a really major thing. But even for the general population, everybody has someone in their family with diabetes, and there is no way to get around this cost. That is a real problem.”