The Diabetes Disaster Response Coalition coronavirus response

WRITTEN BY: Jordan Dakin

On March 12, the Diabetes Disaster Response Coalition (DDRC) circulated an update to coalition members in response to coronavirus (COVID-19). The DDRC works to provide important information and support in natural disasters and events like this and to serve the needs of those with diabetes in times of crisis. COVID-19 has spread throughout much of the world and many questions remain about it will affect people with diabetes specifically in the months to come, but understanding the guidance from local, state, and national health authorities is an important step towards ensuring you and your family are as prepared as possible.

The DDRC has effectively moved into phase two of its plan of action in response to COVID-19. Phase one involved monitoring briefings from federal agencies and working to understand the direct impact on the lives of those with diabetes. As the situation escalated, the DDRC opted on Monday to put forth a plan of response and initiate phase two.

Immediate actions being taken by the DDRC include:

  • In some states, people with diabetes can receive emergency prescription refills when a state of emergency has been declared. The DDRC is monitoring and supporting medication access and the situation in states that have declared emergency, including where people can receive emergency refills → updates will be posted at
  • Updating the ADA’s 1-800-DIABETES hotline with up to date information and sharing resources for access in the face of financial hardship like
  • Communicating with other response organizations and monitoring the supply chain for possible gaps in available diabetes supplies (currently, none expected)

“As the entire world faces one of the worst pandemics of recent times, we have to make sure the diabetes community is educated and prepared for any possible issues,” said Mila Ferrer, Program Manager at Beyond Type 1 and liaison to the DDRC. “The DDRC’s mission is to ensure people living with diabetes have the necessary resources and information before, during, and after any disaster. Although COVID-19 is not a natural disaster, it does impact us all directly and we want to be able to provide the vital information our community needs.”

The DDRC will continue to monitor current situations in declared states of emergency and what the availability of emergency prescription refills looks like. They are also working to understand more how insurance coverage works in situations like this.

Other helpful resources:

Contact information for insulin and pump manufacturers:

  • Lilly : 800-545-5979
  • Sanofi : 800-633-1610
  • Novo Nordisk : 800-727-6500
  • Insulet (Omnipod) : 800-591-3455
  • Dexcom : 888-738-3646
  • Medtronic : 800-633-8766
  • Tandem Diabetes Care : 877-801-6901

I have been worrying about a break in the supply chain today. This is the first day it has hit me. I came here tonight looking for some reassuring information. As a type 1 for 35 years, I know that I don’t make any insulin at all. I put in an order for a refill of a three month supply today.

Is there anyone else that’s scared about this other than me? Would you consider cutting your food intake down in order to make your insulin last longer?

Anybody have anything reassuring to add?

I don’t that I would call it “reassuring” but I know that some plans (even some Medicare plans) are allowing 30 days refills even if you are not do yet. I don’t know that if it is nationwide yet or limited to areas where that have been hit hard.

There have been many tragic stories about people who rationed their insulin. You could minimize the amount of carbs you eat, but you still need basal insulin as well as insulin to cover the rest of your diet.

If you are short of insulin, please consider buying some of the cheaper, no Rx required, old fashioned Regular that is available at Costco, Walmart and other pharmacies. Its action profile is slower than the rapid acting analog insulins you may be used to but you can learn how to use it well.

Please reach out to the resources listed in this post under the Other helpful resources heading. Rationing insulin is not your best tactic.

I dont think that it is going to last that long, @Cinderfella. You should have supplies on hand now. Insulin is manufactured in a lot of different places all over the world. We are in pretty darn good shaped. Large medical insurers are telling their staff, in town here, that they might expect to need to work from home for 1 - 6 months. The thing about having such a large 3 month supply is that you want to make sure your fridge doesn’t freeze it and that you dont travel without it, or you will end up paying out of pocket. But, I have ordered my full 3 months, as well.

If your ultra worried, you can always go pick up a bottle of R and NPH at Walmart for emergencies. I have syringes that I prob wont use. If the sh!t hits the fan, you can always contact me to send. Its easy to make syringes last a long time. I’ve been using the same 3 ones for, like, 2 years.

While none of us can predict where this will head and/or end up, I would suggest the following:

Look at your current stockpile of supplies and determine how long it will last. If it is a bit thin, try to stockpile some more before anything gets locked down.

Try to identify alternative sources in advance so that you don’t get surprised if your normal/primary source encounters a problem.

If you are traveling, takes extra extras in case you get quarantined, trapped by changes in travel rules, etc.

We all need to be smart and prepared … but I think that advance preparation will go a long way towards allaying your fears.

And be thankful that toilet paper is no more critical to us than it is for anyone else …

Have a good week everyone.


There is lots of insulin. The worst case is we might have to take a different brand or go back to regular or something like that. I don’t worry that insulin production would stop.