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People push for change as insulin prices increase

Posted at 3:18 PM, Apr 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-02 19:16:32-04

TEMPLE, TX  — According to a report from the American Diabetes Association, "diabetes was the most expensive chronic illness in the U.S. in 2017, at a total of more than $327 billion per year including $15 billion for insulin."

The report shared the average price of insulin nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013.

One Central Texas woman with type 1 diabetes shared she can attest to those statistics.

For the last 25 years, Janice Wall has lived with type 1 diabetes.

"Immediately was thrust into insulin injections," said Wall.

"Type 1 diabetes patients are reliant on insulin. Their body in general does not make enough insulin, and if they don't have access to their insulin they can become very sick," said Erin Reed, MD, hospitalist director at AdventHealth Central Texas.

Wall must constantly manage her blood sugar levels.

"365 days a year 24/7... unpaid job," said Wall.

Wall shared over the years, the cost of living has increased.

"On my insulin alone I was spending $100 mid last year. It went up to $120 same insulin, same amount and this year I've been quoted, and I'm going to have to order again next week, $237 so almost doubled in less than five months.... I'm very fortunate that I have insurance. My copays last year for medical expenses was $6,000 and about a thousand of that was insulin cost," said Wall.

She recently visited Washington D.C. with hundreds of advocates to advocate for affordable access to care for diabetes.

"I visited with my congress people... and I also have drop-off so to speak packets for other congressmen," so I was in several offices," said Wall.

On Tuesday, the American Diabetes Association's Chief Scientific, Medical and Mission Officer, William T. Cefalu, MD, testified on the rising cost of insulin before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy & Commerce.

In a statement Cefalu shared with Central Texas News Now, "The ADA remains steadfast in our efforts and work with Congress and other leaders to find long-term solutions that will ensure affordable access to insulin for all who need it."

"It's extremely important and you know we're hoping that every patient with diabetes can have access to insulin and you know be better able to take care of their health," said Reed.

"It gives me hope and it gives me hope for all of the 30 million Americans that are living with this," said Wall.