‘Medication or housing’: why soaring insulin prices are killing Americans

Jada Renee Louis of Newport News, Virginia, died on 22 June 2019 about a week after requiring emergency hospital care for diabetic ketoacidosis, a serious complication caused by a lack of insulin, and a foot ulcer. She was 24. A type 1 diabetic, Louis, who did not have health insurance coverage, couldn’t afford the cost of her insulin doses and pay her rent. She chose to skip doses in order to pay her rent.

In 1922 Frederick Banting and Charles Best, the Canadian scientists who discovered insulin, sold their patent to the University of Toronto for $1, hoping it would be a cure for diabetes. Today a vial of insulin – which will last 28 days once opened – costs about $300 in the US.
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Black, Hispanic and Asian adults have been hit hardest by escalating prices. They are more likely to have diabetes than white adults and are less likely to be insured. One in four diabetes patients ration their insulin, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


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