RSN Fundraising Banner
American 'Caravan' Crossed Canadian Border to Buy Affordable Diabetes Drugs
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=47664"><span class="small">Elham Khatami, ThinkProgress</span></a>   
Thursday, 09 May 2019 08:28

Khatami writes: "For Quinn Nystrom, and millions of other Americans living with Type 1 Diabetes, insulin affordability is a 'real crisis issue.'"

Lija Greenseid stands at a pharmacy in Fort Frances, Ont., holding insulin for her 13-year-old daughter. Greenseid, of Minnesota, organized the Caravan to Canada on the first weekend in May to buy cheaper insulin. (photo: Lija Greenseid/CBC)
Lija Greenseid stands at a pharmacy in Fort Frances, Ont., holding insulin for her 13-year-old daughter. Greenseid, of Minnesota, organized the Caravan to Canada on the first weekend in May to buy cheaper insulin. (photo: Lija Greenseid/CBC)


American 'Caravan' Crossed Canadian Border to Buy Affordable Diabetes Drugs

By Elham Khatami, ThinkProgress

09 May 19


"We have all these people dying from a very solvable issue."

or Quinn Nystrom, and millions of other Americans living with Type 1 Diabetes, insulin affordability is a “real crisis issue.”

So Nystrom took it upon herself to find a temporary solution. Last week, she and seven others organized a four-car “caravan” from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to drive 600 miles across the border to Fort Francis, Ontario, in Canada to purchase the life-saving insulin they all needed.

“It was a black and white difference,” Nystrom told ThinkProgress of her experience purchasing insulin at a Canadian pharmacy. In the United States, she said, as a self-employed 33-year-old who makes “a decent living” and has health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, she pays approximately $600 for two vials of insulin — a cost that remains high until she meets her $2,800 deductible.

In Canada, Nystrom said, she paid one-tenth of that cost, spending only $300 for 10 vials of insulin.

“We literally walked in and walked right back to the pharmacy … you didn’t even need to have a prescription,” she said. “It was that easy.”

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns consumers against buying insulin in other countries, stating that it cannot guarantee the safety of such drugs, Nystrom and the rest of the caravan didn’t seem concerned, telling local news outlet KARE 11 that the medicine is made by the same company.

“We’re getting ripped off royally,” Nystrom told ThinkProgress. “We’re cash cows to [pharmaceutical companies]. They’re making so much money off of us.”

Indeed, the United States has some of the highest drug prices in the world, especially when compared to countries where the government regulates or negotiates drug costs. Instead, the United States allows market competition to determine drug prices.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the average list price of insulin has increased dramatically between 2002 and 2013, nearly tripling in cost. A recent ADA survey found that 37% of insulin users, and more than half of dependent child insulin users, reported that their cost of insulin increased from December 2017 to January 2018. In some cases, insulin users had to adjust to price increases by missing doses or cutting back on basic necessities, like groceries or transportation.

Earlier this year, dozens of pharmaceutical companies raised prices on hundreds of medicines, despite President Donald Trump’s repeated promises to hold the Big Pharma industry accountable. Last year, the administration released a blueprint for drug pricing reform, followed by a report highlighting 15 pharmaceutical companies who have either reversed price increases or pledged to freeze prices in 2018. Of those 15, however, at least four increased prices in 2019. Eli Lilly, for example, increased the price of a Type 2 diabetes medication by 6%.

For Nystrom, the solution is two-fold. First, she believes Congress must pass a transparency bill to force pharmaceutical companies to be open about their pricing practices. Several states have taken it upon themselves to pass such legislation. Oregon, for instance, signed a bill into law last year requiring drug makers to report the reasons for price increases, among other requirements.

Second, Nystrom said Congress should follow Minnesota’s lead in advancing a federal emergency insulin act that allows someone without insurance to receive an emergency supply of insulin that is needed to survive. Such legislation, Nystrom said, will help save lives.

“We have all these people dying from a very solvable issue,” she said.

After returning from her five-hour road trip to Canada, Nystrom said that although she was happy to have purchased affordable insulin, she felt more concerned than ever about the state of drug prices in the United States.

“It left me, when I got home, sort of depressed. I was sort of heartbroken about where America has gone wrong,” she said. “Our politicians have let our citizens down.”

Email This Page

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+7 # BetaTheta 2019-05-09 10:26
Perhaps Trudeau will remonstrate with Trump to stop such caravans at the source, as they are full of potential terrorists and rapists.
 
 
+6 # jcdav 2019-05-09 10:44
This fatal drug pricing is exactly what happens when the big corporations own lawmakers. Medicare for all will at least address the medical of corporate ownership of our government.
 
 
+7 # Wise woman 2019-05-09 11:14
Yeah - especially with a!l these women in the caravan. You know how much they're into raping and terrorizing!
 
 
+6 # franselr 2019-05-09 14:04
Here in Australia, we pay about $1 Australian vial for Novorapid under our healthcare. I get a 6 month supply for $35/prescriptio n. Fortunately, we do not have a President making our country great again!