Patients rationing, searching for cheaper versions of insulin

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Vermont lawmakers are looking for a solution to help struggling diabetics. Legislation is being introduced that would allow low-cost insulin to be imported into the state from other countries.

John Moreton has been a diabetic for 15 years years.

“I still have to watch my nickels and dimes,” Moreton said.

Moreton is part of a large group of Americans struggling to pay for their insulin, opting for a cheaper version, or rationing the prescribed version. In 2001, insulin could be found for as low as $35. Now, its closer to $300.

“When you’re on a fixed income like I am it becomes a real problem,” Moreton said. “I don’t understand when I can purchase an insulin for $24.88 at Walmart, why Novalog and Humalog are charging anywhere from $180 to $200 a bottle.”

New York State Assemblyman John McDonanld is also a pharmacist. McDonald says he routinely sees customers struggling to pay for insulin, but non-prescription brands aren’t as effective.

“It’s a well-known fact that United States’s drug prices are more than many other countries. It’s something that our system at the federal government allows that to happen,” McDonald said.

He also said he doesn’t blame patients for searching for other options.

“We have to look at this in the longer view: Are these prices that these companies charge warranted? Are they legitimate? And, yes, is there a less expensive way to get those products to our patients,” McDonald said.

McDonald also said that the United States needs to also address healthy eating to curb people from getting to the point of Type 2 diabetes.

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