Seven and a half million people in the United States suffer from type 1 diabetes and depend on insulin to survive. But in the last five years, the cost of the life-saving drug in the U.S. has doubled reaching prices up to $300 a vial.
The cost for the same drug, produced in the same laboratory in Canada, can be less than $20 a vial. The reason? “One factor is a lack of government regulation with drug companies able to set their own price for medicines,” says Daniel Touchette, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Pharmacy.
As Correspondent Dan Williams reports, the high cost of the vital drug is pushing some people to rationing their doses. But, without insulin, blood sugar increases and cannot be delivered to the muscles and brain where it is needed to provide the body with energy. That can be fatal and is exactly what happened to 22 year-old Alec Smith.
Alec died in Minneapolis, in the U.S. State of Minnesota, less than a month after coming off his mother’s medical insurance policy. Alec lasted only 26 days without her insurance and only 2 days without his insulin.
Dan Williams embarks on a road trip to Canada with a group of diabetics looking for affordable insulin prices and brings us their stories.