Edith Prentiss has Type 1 diabetes and needs to take insulin several times a day.
“If I didn’t take it, I would be dead,” Prentiss told WNYW’s Linda Schmidt.
The price of many insulin brands has risen by as much as $200 in the last three years, leaving Prentiss concerned— especially because her co-pay has also increased.
“My co-pay was $85 in 2015, and in 2016 it has gone up to $138,” Prentiss told Schmidt. As she needs eight bottles a month, her insulin now costs $1,104.
Type 1 diabetes affects as many as 1.25 million Americans, according to the JDRF. Type 2 diabetes affects about 29 million people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For these patients, insulin is not a luxury but a necessity to stay alive.
The rising cost of insulin is a concern, Dr. Minisha Sood, director of inpatient diabetes at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told Schmidt.
“I see patients stretching out their insulin supply and that concerns me a lot,” Sood told Schmidt. “They may not be using the full amount of insulin they’re prescribed.”
Sood said the issue of rising insulin prices is complicated and should be under the spotlight.
“A piece like you’re doing will raise awareness that this is a major problem for patients and doctors,” Sood said. “With diabetes growing, in terms of reaching epidemic proportions, we really need to get a handle on it.”