Insulin caravan arrives at its final destination

World Today

A group of Americans that call themselves the “insulin caravan” has arrived in Canada after a lengthy journey that members hope will ultimately save lives. Most of them suffer from type one diabetes. They want to draw attention to the exorbitant price of insulin in the United States. CGTN’s Dan Williams reports.

The insulin caravan traveled 1,300 kilometers from the U.S. state of Minneapolis to its destination — a pharmacy in London, Canada.

The goal to buy insulin at a tenth of the price it would cost in the United States.

The drug is a life saver, especially for those suffering with type one diabetes.

Despite some initial concern from some of the local pharmacies over media coverage, the group eventually got what it came for.

“It is staggering how much more money it is in America. You can see why one in four Americans are rationing their insulin because they cannot afford it,” said Quinn Nystrom, the insulin caravan organizer. “We are from a wealthy country. We are from a great country, but we are not taking care of our citizens.”

Among those in the caravan is Ohio politician John Kennedy, who has type one diabetes.

“This retails for around $300 for one vial. And I just got it for 25 dollars. Now why the hell is that? Why? It is crazy to me. So as excited as I am to save some money, I am devastated to know that affordable insulin is available to us just across the border,” Kennedy said.

Having purchased a new batch of more affordable insulin, the group has achieved a key part of its mission. But this trip was always more than just that.

Participants held a news conference at Banting House. It was here in 1920 that Frederick Banting helped discover insulin.

Although the trip here was symbolic, there is also anger that people continue to die from diabetes because of the exorbitant price of the drug in the U.S.

Nicole Smith-Holt lost her son Alec just over two years ago. He was rationing insulin because of the expense.

“Here we are talking about how there is a treatment for Type One diabetes, my own son didn’t benefit from that treatment as he couldn’t afford it. It is a hard pill to swallow,” Smith-Holt said.

Organizers of the caravan say the fight to lower the price of insulin is just beginning.