Activists with diabetes, organized through advocacy group T1International, are trekking or “caravanning” to Canada to buy lower cost insulin. Why wouldn’t they? According to reporting in the Washington Post, they ended up paying $1,200 for products that would have cost $12,000 in the United States. One vial of Humalog in the U.S. can cost $300 compared to $30 in Canada.
According to the Post, the activists “see buying in Canada as a short-term emergency measure and a way to call attention to U.S. pricing — not the answer.”
I fully agree that personal imports of more affordable medicine are an emergency measure, and I’d be happy if it were a short-term one. A recent T1International survey found that 26% of Americans who take insulin rationed their medication at least once last year because of cost. That’s higher than the worldwide rate of 18%. People with diabetes should not be forced to travel to Canada to get affordable insulin when it can be mailed.
(more…)Tagged with: caravan, Insulin, T1 International
In my blog post about the Senate
Finance Committee hearing on drug prices, I noted my surprise at
Senator Mike Enzi’s (R-WY) comment that he knew about a foundation that helps
people import lower-cost insulin from Canada. Sen. Enzi stated that a person
referred to as his diabetes advisor had
“found a way to work through a foundation to import insulin for a number of
people at lower-cost. And I think he worked for a foundation so that it would
be legal.” I had endeavored to look into it, but fortunately Jay Hancock from
Kaiser Health News beat me to it and found, sadly, no
such insulin import program exists. I think we can all agree that it
In researching the story, Jay asked me if I knew of such a
(more…)Tagged with: Insulin, politics, Senator Mike Enzi
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who introduced the Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act of 2019, may well emerge as a major champion for Americans who import medicine because the prices are too high here in the U.S.
An astounding thing happened during the Senate Finance Committee hearing on drug prices this past Tuesday. Committee Chairman Grassley asked one of the witnesses, a mother struggling with the cost of insulin for her young adult son, if she had considered importing medicine to afford it.
Think about that.
Under most circumstances, according to the FDA, it’s illegal to import medicine for personal use. And yet at a high-profile Senate committee hearing, the venerable Sen. Grassley seemed genuinely curious why Ms. Sego didn’t get lower-cost medication online from another country.
(more…)Tagged with: Insulin, politics, Senator Chuck Grassley