Diabetics are currently facing a crisis that will change many of theirs lives. Within the last year insulin prices have risen tremendously. With prices going up many diabetics cannot afford to buy their monthly vials. This video from The Wall Street Journals shows the extreme measures, from buying insulin on the black market to creating a more affordable substitute to insulin. For my capstone I have created a workshop regarding the unfair drug prices in America. This workshop will be an interactive activity where you will have to make some of the same decisions diabetics make when they are faced as they pay for insulin.
Highlights from research paper
Early Treatment of Diabetes Greek physicians main recommendation for treatment for diabetes was exercise. Horseback riding was highly encouraged to get rid of excess urine. Other treatments included taking opium, a carb-free diet, fasting, powders of fenugreek, and drinking non-irritating milk. In 1921 Sir Frederick Grant Banting and Charles Hebert Best invented the drug that provided hope to diabetics, insulin. Insulin is a peptide hormone that has 51 amino acids. Insulin is a hormone created by the pancreas which regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. It helps manage the body's blood sugar level by not allowing it to get too high or too low. Banting and Best proved how they could reverse diabetes in dogs by injecting them with an extract from the pancreatic islets of healthy dogs. They also experimented on the hormone insulin from the pancreases of cows at the University of Toronto. This allowed them to create an effective treatment for diabetes. A year later Banting and Best received a Nobel Prize in medicine. They shared their prize money with the other people in their team who were not recognized. They had insulin free of charge therefore millions of diabetes had access to insulin.
Diabetes in Other Countries Canada is known for having cheaper insulin, hence why so many Americans travel there to get affordable insulin. One out of ten people have diabetes in Canada. In 1995 Canada’s government gave $115 million over the course of five years to create a “Canadian Diabetes Strategy”. This helped Candians to get more resources from experts around the country. In 2004, they gave $30 million for the same reasoning/cause. The Canadian Diabetes Strategy consists of four main goals, to develop a health promotion and disease prevention strategy, care and treat for the First Nation people on-reserve, provide culturally appropriate prevention and education, and develop a pan-Candian collaborative plan for diabetes. In Canada the monthly price varies around $25 to $35. Buying well known insulin brands, such as Humong costs $32 in Canada, but $300 in the U.S. The way American government and pharmaceutical companies treat insulin is quite different from other countries. America can benefit from watching how other countries handle problems regarding diabetes without putting their citizens in danger.
Extreme Measures The Dark Web is a common solution to diabetics who need to get insulin at a lower price.Abigail Hansmeyer was waiting for weeks for her insurance to approve her insulin. This long wait made her turn to the Dark Web because she needed affordable insulin quick. “It’s amazing how many people rely on it [Dark Web] on a day-to-day basis,” said Hansmeyer. Under Federal and State law it is illegal to resell a prescription medication. A mother of a diabetic said that their daughter never turned to any illegal sites to purchase insulin, until she was in desperate need to get some on a vacation. She relied on social media to find someone with an insulin supply that was willing to sell it.Her mother said, “People are doing what they need to do in order to stay alive, and I don’t see anything wrong with that. We take responsibility for each other and help each other because the system certainly isn’t.”Diabetics aren’t only buying insulin off illegal websites but they are also traveling to other countries to get the insulin they can afford.
Unfair Drug Prices in America Workshop
My product for my capstone includes a workshop held at Social Justice Day about unfair drug prices in America. Is healthcare in America fair? America has some of the highest drug prices in the world, and diabetics are forced to make difficult choices which can lead to deadly consequences. This workshop ran an interactive activity where you had to make some of the same decisions diabetics make when they are faced.as they pay for insulin. The workshop included a video, presentation and follow-up discussion.
Purpose of Interactive Activity The purpose of this workshop was to show students how the healthcare system in America is unfair to many people. The interactive activity allowed students to see how the health care system was unfair. The activity separated the students into groups and each group was given a profile about a person needing to purchase insulin. Each profile included the persons, job, income and how much money they had to purchase insulin. Some groups had $25 to spend on insulin and others had $300. They were given four different options on how they could pay for their insulin, go to the black market, go to another country, pay the full price, and a option for them to think of their own. There comes consequences with most of these options. Students struggled to find a "perfect" solution to get insulin without having to have risks that comes along with getting it at a reduced price.
Name: John Smith Job: Receptionist at Delan Law firm Income: 28,000/year Money they have for insulin: $150
Options for purchasing insulin:
Purchase insulin for full amount ($300)
Purchase in other country
Purchase on The Black Market
Other (explain your reason)
Video about Purchasing Insulin on Black Market
This video is an example of the desperate measures people will do to get affordable insulin.