Desperate Measures: the Skyrocketing Price of Insulin in America

This is the title of an interesting segment on the NPR program ‘1A’ yesterday about insulin pricing, legislative efforts, pharmaceutical company behavior, and insulin ‘caravans’ to Canada. It’s about 45min but worth the listen.

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Thanks Paytone. I keep reading your name as Payphone, lol. I do like a good audio story.

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My sister texted me about listening to this radio show during her busy workday yesterday. She knows my sentiments about social justice and access to insulin and was engaged with the arc of this story. This is the kind of story that can reach beyond our circle of friends and relatives and just what we need to create the political momentum that can overcome the huge power of big money and Pharma.

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Hey Terry4, did anything ever come out of your state’s legislature this year? I know that your people were active, but I never heard…

Sorry to admit that I’m not well plugged into the state political agenda of diabetes issues. I need to pay closer attention to these issues in my state.

I do know that the Oregon passed the Agreement among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.

Oregon became the 15th state to pass this legislation.

I apologize for the off-topic reference but think the undemocratic electoral college has sidetracked the will of the people too many times.

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Ahhh, all this stuff is pretty hard to keep track of. Let me know if you hear of anything. I’ll put Oregon into my presentation. Did anybody else’s state pass anything beside MN and CO. I can’t remember.

It’s $.25/word to reply to my posts :wink:



Your question prompted me to see what the Oregon legislature is doing about insulin access and pricing. I found this story entitled, Child’s diabetes scare leads to Oregon bill allowing emergency refills of insulin.

WA is starting a “Public Option” in 2021 that is described in the link. Time will tell if it improves access to insulin…the politicians are promising a lot. I think this is a more promising approach than fiddling with the electoral college.
WA Public Option

Lets just hope it doesn’t turn into “more of the same” in WA.
I’ve lived in the state (on the east side) most of my life and it’s always been a complete boondoggle when Olympia gets involved with anything. The linked article mentioned “bare counties” and made the comment that its tough to get single providers in some counties and many have only one. I blame that situation on the state government messing around with the market resulting in chasing most providers out.

As for eliminating the electoral college, I can only surmise that those who are in favor of the idea live in large metropolitan areas where they’d benefit from such a change. Most of us who live in “fly over country” view it as a bulwark against the tyranny of the mob which is what “true” democracy always devolves into. Especially once the majority figure out they can vote in those who will take from the minority and give to the majority.


If the CDC is correct they estimated that more than 100 million Americans are diabetic or pre-diabetic as of 2015 and the number is growing exponentially every year. That means that more than 1 in 3 Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic.

Given the recent news exposing the costs associated with diabetes and the number of people in US affected, it is surprising that none of the presidential candidates on either side have hopped onto a campaign promise to specifically address diabetes care. We only hear about cancer which getting mostly under control.

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According to what I was taught in high school history, this is exactly what the electoral college system was designed to be. The occasional veto of the popular vote by the electoral college, or the electoral college followed by the House of Representatives, is not an accidental aberration. It was planned that way by the Hamiltonian Federalists, who were afraid of putting too much power in the hands of ‘the common people’, the undereducated (in their opinion), the mob.

I live in a place where there is little or no concept of respect for the rights of the minority. I am a member of a visible minority. I and my small children (then) have been physically attacked by perfect strangers for no other reason than the fact that we look different, and I live in fear. G-d save the United States!

Politics aside, anyone who is interested in this subject should remember to reread Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. He felt that even given the more anti-democratic structures of his own day, the United States was ultra-democratically in the hands of the mob and the dictatorship of the majority to a dangerous degree. Even if you disagree with him, it’s a lovely book.

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Just a note from the admin perspective here. It’s virtually impossible to separate discussions of policy, which this is, from politics, so we try to strike a balance. But these days political discussions can devolve into divisiveness, vitriol and bad feelings very rapidly, which this one is threatening to do. We earnestly try not to intervene unless it’s absolutely necessary for the health of the community, so let’s try to stay clear of the purely political side of things please.


Just a question. Not looking for an argument but is the control of the Skyrocketing Price of Insulin in the US not a purely political issue that will only be solved, if it will be solved at all, by politicians of either one side or both sides of the political aisles? The pharmaceutical industry has no incentive or advantage to solve this issue and I don’t see that individuals can solve it on their own either without changes in political policies.

I believe the answer and resolution requires a political solution and not political blame on any party. It would appear to me that as long as we stay away from playing the blame game and just put all our energies and resources into solving this problem, we can push for a positive political outcome for all diabetics and stay within the TOS of this board.

I think that says it quite well. It’s really just a matter of keeping in mind that there are people here of varying, even divergent political philosophies, but those philosophies aren’t why they come here. If we end up pushing people away from seeking help and information about this big health problem they face because they feel like they run into a hostile political atmosphere here, or it’s being taken over by debates that have no direct bearing on diabetes, we’re defeating the whole reason the community exists.

I actually don’t think it’s that hard to tell where the line is if you view it from that perspective.


It could be that this idea is too obvious to need mentioning, but the number or voters with diabetes is pretty large, the number of diabetes caregivers is pretty large, and the number of Members of Congress and Senators who are aging and who have diabetes or pre-diabetes is pretty large.

Would someone like to organize a letter writing campaign?


Yet both parties support big pharma, This isn’t going anywhere. I’m on a double dose, psoriasis biologic that is $35,000 a year

I’m surprised that insulin is so expensive, given that it is synthetic insulin that is produced in a bioreactor. I would expect that to bring the price DOWN.

They have gov. health insurance and are well looked after. You know, the one they are against, for everyone else.