Insulin Costs in America

I believe that every Type One Diabetic should have access to insulin.

Back in October of 2014 I went into a deathly coma. Why did I go into a coma? I went into a coma because my body wasn’t producing any insulin. I was lying on my deathbed at the age of thirteen because my body lacked the lifesaving hormone insulin. Luckily, ever since that day in 2014, I have had the privilege of affording insulin to keep me alive every single day. Other diabetics are not as lucky.

The pancreas, an organ in your body, produces insulin. Insulin is like a key. It unlocks the doors to cells of the body for glucose to supply those cells with energy. If someone has Type One Diabetes, their body makes zero insulin. If a car doesn’t have gas it shuts down, right? The same concept goes along with the human body. Just replace gas with insulin, and the car with body. If the body has no insulin, it will shut down.

Since diabetic bodies do not make insulin (to no fault of our own)! we have to give our own bodies insulin via syringe or an insulin pump. Simple enough, right? I suppose the thought is simple, but the countless actions taken to simply get your hands on a vial of insulin seems like it can take a lifetime — for some diabetics, it does take a lifetime.

Insulin is expensive. Even with insurance, someone could still be paying $1,300+ a month out of pocket. $1,300+ a month, $15,600+ a year, $15,600+ a year plus the cost of insurance, plus the basic costs of having to function in the world, the cost adds up making it almost impossible to live. How is a diabetic expected to survive if they don’t have money to spare? They don’t.

People are dying each and every single day. People with hopes, dreams, and families. Average everyday people who are starting to begin their life, moving out and making themselves become something, a person like Alec Smith. Alec Smith was twenty-six years old when he died. Alec Smith had family, friends, hopes, and dreams. Alec Smith was a Type One Diabetic who died one month after going off of his mother’s insurance. Alone in his apartment, Alec Smith died three days before he would’ve gotten paid. Alec Smith died because he had no choice but to ration his insulin. Alec Smith was using less than his body needed, all to make it last until he could afford to buy more insulin. Alec Smith is a victim of the insulin companies and he is not the first or last person to be victimized.

Frederick Banting and his team discovered insulin in 1923. Ever since Frederick Banting discovered insulin, his dream was for insulin to be available for every diabetic, not for it to be sold at outrageous prices. If Frederick Banting heard about what insulin was being sold for today, he would be appalled. Insulin companies are making a large profit off of a disease us diabetics could have never prevented. A disease that will kill us in less than twenty-four hours if we do not have the medication we need. Insulin companies are forcing diabetics to pay to stay alive, our blood is in their hands.

When I turn twenty-six, I will be knocked off of my parents insurance plan, and I will have to be paying these companies endless and endless amounts of money. All so I can manage a disease that was put upon me to no fault of my own. What if I don’t have enough money for insulin? Then what will I do? Well, I will end up dead.

There is no other answer, but death. If I do not get insulin, I will die. I will end up back of the same bed I was in 2014. I will be in a diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) coma — The same exact one where I was not expected to survive. I should not have to grow up living with this constant fear and reminder of death. No one should. No one.

Diabetics are nothing but a simple profit for the insulin companies. Diabetics keep giving them money, and they keep ringing us dry until we cannot give anymore. This is not happening with only insulin either, but with so many other medications. Other medications that people have to take just to wake up every morning. The same people with hopes, dreams, and loved ones. The same people that will have to forever pay for medicine to keep themselves alive.

My name is Kate Franciscus, I am a Type One Diabetic, and I believe that every Type One Diabetic should have access to insulin.

Kate Franciscus

A 17 y/o Type One Diabetic with hopeful dreams 

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 6:03 PM, 06.05.2019