Iowans With Diabetes Feel the Effects of Insulin Price Increase

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Pharmacists and doctors say the price of insulin has steadily gone up for years and keeps rising.

“It’s not a shortage. We are a developed country and we’ve been having issues with prices of medicines. It’s been going back to the early 2000’s and now it’s insulin’s turn, which is taking a big toll on patients,” Drake Associate Professor Pharmacy Practice Jamie Pitlick said.

Doctors recently diagnosed Mark Verbrugge’s 6-year-old daughter, Claire, with type one diabetes.

“We noticed that she was always constantly telling us she was thirsty and we kind of put two and two together, did a little bit of online research and when you type in those two symptoms the first thing that pops up is type one diabetes,” Verbrugge said.

The family is already seeing how expensive living with this disease is.

“A vile lasts for about two weeks at a time. I want to say it’s like four viles we get in a pack and just that first initial cost that we with the meter, it was probably our most expensive trip we’ve ever made to the pharmacy,” Verbrugge said.

He said when they found out about the diagnosis he read an article about different insulin product price increases.

“Novolog raised by eight percent in just one year. So that goes from about $250 to $275 just in one year. Since 2001, I think it’s increased by 353 percent. So you hear a lot of stories about families having to make decisions about do we get groceries, do we pay the mortgage do we live,” Verbrugge said

He said they are thankful for great insurance that helps with the cost, but not everyone has that luxury.

Pitlick said there are ways to help those who are struggling.

“Sometimes we can get them samples. Sometimes we can switch you to a older but cheaper type of insulin, but if we don’t get that phone call we can’t help,” Pitlick said

Pitlick said it’s important to call your doctor first so that they can help you through it.

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