COLUMBUS (WKBN) – There are 1.3 million adults living with diabetes in Ohio and another 70,000 are diagnosed every year. That’s according to Democratic lawmakers who are pushing a series of bills aimed at raising awareness and solutions for diabetes and the skyrocketing price of insulin.
The elected officials are putting forward a bill modeled after what Colorado did, capping the copay costs to patients when purchasing insulin at $100 per month.
A single vial of insulin can cost, on average, about $300.
This is an effort to reduce instances of rationing. According to lawmakers, 30% of diabetics nationwide ration their insulin because of its cost and the need to make difficult decisions over whether to buy more or spend that money on bills or food.
Prices for the same insulin manufactured by the same companies are dramatically lower in our neighboring countries of Canada and Mexico (90% cheaper in Canada and 50% cheaper in Mexico).
Antrionette Worsham knows this firsthand. She accompanied her diabetic daughter to Canada to buy some.
Her other daughter, Antavia, died as a result of diabetic ketoacidosis due to her decision to ration her insulin.
“I wasn’t on government assistance. I worked at Mercy Health — $3,800 deductible, $1,800 individual deductible. I have a degree, I work, I pay taxes and it’s still too expensive for us,” Worsham said.
State Senator Hearcel Craig told reporters this bill will save lives by lowering the cost of insulin.
“This is not a Republican or Democratic issue, this is about our families and our children,” he said.
So far, Republicans have joined the effort in the House of Representatives as cosponsors to the bill.
In the Senate, however, Republicans are still mulling over if they want to get involved.
State Representative Beth Liston, one of the primary sponsors of the House version of the bill, said there is a solution to solving this problem.
“In medicine, it is simple. We know how to treat it, we need policies that make it possible.”
Liston, a practicing doctor when not at the Statehouse, sees diabetic patients coming into the emergency rooms with diabetic ketoacidosis nearly every shift.
The price of insulin has been a problem for a while now.
Every year around this time, stories are written about the issue and every year, the numbers continue to go up — whether it’s the cost of insulin, the number of people rationing or lives lost.