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I'm a junkie.  I don't get high from it, but I do go low.

Costs me big time.  $10/day for 70 units of Lantus.  $6.50 for Novolog.  4 tests strips at .50 ea.  That's $18 per day just to stay alive.  Not including Doctors visits, metabolic tests, complications, eye doctors, etc.

And no insurance.  It would cost $700/month and would not cover medications.  It would just cover emergencies.

So it occurs to me....

That there are probably others in the same boat here on Dkos.  And you're probably just as pissed off that it costs $150 for a vial of insulin, especially for the old kind that has been around for a hundred years.  When I was first put on insulin, about 10 years ago, it only cost $25/vial.  But then I guess the greed of Big Pharma got the better of them.  

Today I went to the Doctor and got another round of tests that are going to cost over $500.  The Doctor only charges $125/visit because of the lack of insurance.  So I've just been getting more and more pissed off.

It occurs to me that others want to gripe, talk or plan demonstrations against Eli Lilly or Novartus or something.  For me, I think it may be necessary to go a little further and blog a bit more extensively, document a bit of this bullshit where the drug companies take such extreme advantage of a large segment of the population afflicted with diabetes.  

I'll talk about friends that are afflicted.  For some reason, lots of friends have it or have had it.  RIP.  Give you my own conspiracy theories about how the government and Pharma are cultivating the populace with patients so they can make money.  Give hints about how to save money.  Give a place for people to discuss.  

Interested?  Subscribe to the Group.  Diary it.  Hear me out.  It'll be fun and cathartic.

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Comment Preferences

  •  so sorry you are without insurance and also (9+ / 0-)

    have chronic health expenses and issues.
    How stressful.

    I think for many people that kind of situation depending on their income and its security would be extremely upsetting form of chronic stress. Some people would cut corners that might effect their health, even.

    Such stress is bad for health physical and mental, for some. It would be for mine. I have chronic health issues but also have insurance, thank goodness. I live MA.

    Reason we have tried to reform healthcare and extend it to more people.

    I am sure there are others in your boat on Kos that will comment.

  •  If you haven't already used it up (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Munchkn, Pluto, JamieG from Md, Wee Mama

    there is the Lantus assistance program. Which will get you Lantus, from the manufacturer, for up to a year.

    I strongly advise a very strict low carb diet for you, read Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution. As a Type II, I no longer need to take either Lantus nor Novolog which I was taking in large quantity for several years. Just metformin.

  •  If you do decide to do a low carb diet (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DamselleFly, Wee Mama

    this is a good forum

    http://forum.lowcarber.org/

  •  I don't mean to spam about it (6+ / 0-)

    but this kind of saved my life

  •  In Another Time In My Life (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DamselleFly, FloridaSNMOM, Wee Mama

    I weighted 100+ pounds more than I do now. I got stretch marks to prove it. They are not pretty ....

    I don't know if I can offer you anything other than, well there is hope. I used to eat more than I should. Things I shouldn't. I won't say it was easy to stop this, but I did.

    If I could teleport you to my house we'd have fun for a few days and also eat a little :), but not so much.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 02:23:45 AM PST

  •  Type I here (6+ / 0-)

    But I am one of the lucky ones, since through my wife's insurance I was able to get a pump.  It has changed my life and I find I use far less insulin since the pump is more efficient.

    I feel for you, Farlfoto, and can only echo what others have said here: diet and exercise can do much to help your blood glucose levels.

    The opposite of "good" is "good intention" - Kurt Tucholsky

    by DowneastDem on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 02:58:23 AM PST

    •  TII (0+ / 0-)

      On pump.  Cut insulin by one half.  Far better control.

      Expensive-yes.  But much less so than diabetes complications.  Afford without insurance-no,  With?  barely.

      Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

      by barbwires on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 07:50:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  BTW (6+ / 0-)

    I hate to recommend Walmart for anything based on the way we feel about Walmart in general, but they do have vials of insulin made by the same company that makes Novolog for about $25. And their test strips are probably the cheapest, and they even have an a1c test that you can send a sample to their lab and they'll e-mail you a link to the results. It's pretty accurate IMO. Much cheaper than having it done at the doctor's office.

    http://www.relion.com/...
    http://www.relion.com/...

    •  I've been meaning to check walmart for insulin. (4+ / 0-)

      Now I will.

      •  I found that Walgreens (0+ / 0-)

        was cheaper for my kind of insulin. But Walmart for the strips.

        I am private pay (translation: no insurance) and have to shop around for things.

        I also found that the best thing to help me control my blood sugar were strength training exercises ... just some barbells and some squats.  Wlking helps for my cardio but does not do as much for my blood sugar.  I guess everyone s different and needs to experiment to see what works.

        ONe more year and I will qualify for Medicare ... unless it gets screwed up and, with my luck, who knows what will happen.

        "Life without liberty is like a body without spirit. Liberty without thought is like a disturbed spirit." Kahlil Gibran, 'The Vision'

        by CorinaR on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 08:28:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  my precious tee (my samoyed) was on insulin and (0+ / 0-)

        walmart is the only reason we weren't financially devasted by it.

        the novolin r and novolin n are both $24.99 and the needles (100 pack) are about $15.  tester is $9 and the strips can be as little as $9 for 20, $19 for 50 and $39 for 100.

        you don't need a prescription, so that cuts out having to go to the doctor JUST to get the meds refilled.

        i dislike walmart's treatment of its workers so i didn't shop for anything else - just straight to the pharmacy and out again.  they helped me keep tee for 3 years longer than i expected to - especially after the prescribed dog insulin was defective and didn't control his sugars (the formula was finally changed, but for anyone with a dog on insulin, i'd still talk to the vet - human insulin is under fda control, animal insulin isn't!)

        one more thing:  eat PUMPKIN!  pureed pumpkin helps regulate blood sugar - it's a slow digesting fiber that is awesome.  canned libby's or, if you have a grocery outlet, the chinese pureed pumpkin - black can with orange pumpkin - is cheaper ($1.99 vs $4.99).  what i did was stock up heavily after thanksgiving and each holiday for the big cans when they went on sale for half off at major grocery stores.  3/4 cup with a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg stirred in and eaten warm tasted like pumpkin pie without the sugar. you can add stevia and get the full pie effect or just eat the pumpkin as a side dish.

        also, after the holidays, many grocers have fresh sugar pumpkins left in produce and will sell them cheaper, too.  they will keep for a long time as a pumpkin - when ready, cut them in half, remove the seeds (you can bake those, too, on a cookie sheet) and place the pumpkin face down on a rack and bake on low until they are done.  absolutely delicious beyond measure!

        pumpkin really is a miracle food for diabetics!        

    •  Relatively inexpensive (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      InsultComicDog

      home A1C tests are available now.  

      Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

      by barbwires on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 07:51:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  IMO the Reli-on ones that you send to the lab (0+ / 0-)

        are more accurate and less expensive than the Bayer ones that give an immediate result.

        •  I compared the results I got from home testing (0+ / 0-)

          with the Bayer test and results from a doctor visit the next day from a professional lab and there was only a tenth of a percent difference, which I thought was pretty good.  But cheaper doesn't hurt either although I like the immediate feedback of the home test.

          Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

          by barbwires on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 12:46:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Here is one place people are getting help (4+ / 0-)

    Interactive Chart: Look Up How Your Local Health Center Performed
     http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/...

    The nation’s nearly 1,200 community health centers provide care to more than 20 million people, mostly poor and many of them uninsured. The federal government has recently begun measuring the quality of care at the centers to determine whether patients are getting appropriate care. The 2011 data below are the most recent information available looking at the health centers' clinical performance.
    One measure:
    Diabetes Control: The percentage of adults, age 18 to 75, with diabetes who have their blood sugar under control, defined as a HbA1c under 9 percent.

    Brand new favorite RSS feed of Daily Kos Radio Podcasts http://kagrox.libsyn.com/rss
    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    by We Won on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 03:17:44 AM PST

    •  Are you sure you quoted this accurately? (0+ / 0-)
      Diabetes Control: The percentage of adults, age 18 to 75, with diabetes who have their blood sugar under control, defined as a HbA1c under 9 percent.
      That's a pretty dismal definition of glucose control, since the American Diabetes Association defines it as 7 and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists defines it as 6.5, and many people consider both those limits to be very sloppy (I can manage 5.5 if I try hard enough, which I often don't, and 6.5 with hardly any effort (metformin, low dose of insulin R (25 or fewer units/day), and reducing carb intake, though not to the point that serious low-carbers do)).

      In a dog-eat-dog world, rabies is an advantage in the short term.

      by ebohlman on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 04:33:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am pre-diabetic and since my MC is SSDI, (3+ / 0-)

    I don't qualify for Medi-gap and no local docs take MC+.  However, though I am not yet at the Type II stage, I still have a half dozen meds I need to live.  One capsule that I need bid (2x daily) is $13/capsule.

  •  my cat is diabetic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rini6

    My husband should be glad that it's so inexpensive to treat him.  A vial of ProZinc for cats is only $85 and lasts Snorpi for 40 days.

    •  You know that big pharma could charge less (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Farlfoto

      and still make a profit. They know the market and know that people will not pay as much for their pets as for themselves and that pets usually do not have insurance.

      An eye for an eye and the whole world will be blind.

      by rini6 on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 06:00:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  check with your vet about the human insulin - (0+ / 0-)

      is he can take that, walmart pharmacy is the answer.

      the novolin n is the slow acting one that is prescribed - and, like i mentioned upthread, it is under fda control, unlike pet meds.

  •  Yep... Universal Healthcare (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Farlfoto

    would be the least we could do for each other as a society. Even those with insurance are continually ripped off  by high premiums and low coverage that they only find out about later. If you bought a car and it was that much worse than advertised you would have a great lawsuit. Oh, and big pharma is the same. I am an asthma specialist and I can tell you that Albuterol inhalers used to be generic, but due to the Montreal Protocol (which I agree with), they switched to HFA from chlorofluorocarbons as the propellent. Guess what. Now all albuterol inhalers are brand again. There are NO inhalers that are generic. NONE. Advair is like two to three hundred for one inhaler that lasts a month.

    sigh..

    An eye for an eye and the whole world will be blind.

    by rini6 on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 05:55:03 AM PST

    •  yea, but how do insulin manufacturers keep prices (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rini6, BlueMississippi

      So high?  

      •  I don't think that people have much choice (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlueMississippi

        They have to pay. And if you have insurance, I think it's usually one of the things that's mostly covered (I could be wrong) The market system doesn't work when you're dealing with medications or with healthcare in general. There is nothing bringing prices down. That's why medical costs are the leading cause of personal bankruptcy.

        An eye for an eye and the whole world will be blind.

        by rini6 on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 06:35:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Designer insulin analogues (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlueMississippi

        actually much better than the old cow or pig insulins which people often developed antibodies to.  But designing new analogues keeps things under patent protection.

        Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

        by barbwires on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 07:54:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think it has to do with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        InsultComicDog

        special permission to not let patents expire so it can go generic. But the test strips! I don't get it either. I have insurance but the deductible and the co-pays are so high that I often don't treat myself as much I need.

        The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right. Mark Twain

        by BlueMississippi on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 10:14:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  IIRC (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlueMississippi

          Insulin is a biologic drug, and that manufacturing process is different than other drugs. Therefore, insulin is not afforded the same privileges as other generics.

          The FDA has yet to put forth a guidance for the approval of generic insulin.

          •  novolin has been around for a very long time - (0+ / 0-)

            and it is inexpensive.  lantus, if i remember correctly, is a one shot a day insulin where novolin requires twice a day and testing.

            the strips and readers for relion are very inexpensive - there is NO reason for testers to be priced like the original calculators that cost $350 or the first cell phones that cost $1500 each (i know, i had one).

            the companies that charge high prices do it because they can.  diabetics don't have a choice NOT to test or buy insulin, so the "supply and demand" issues are moot.  the "captive audience" issue is very much alive!

  •  Diabetes is the perfect disease for BigPharma. (3+ / 0-)

    It requires lifelong use of maintenance medications to stay healthy, literally until you die. They can keep jacking the price up year after year like the most shameless crack dealer in town, because you have no choice about continuing to use their product. The 'cartel' consists of just a handful of giant multinational conglomerates with their hands in your pocket, all figuring out how to jack the price up even more, despite the fact that the per-unit cost of production keeps falling with experience and economies of scale.

    Better yet, giant pharmaceutical companies get in on the action at the other end; they sell antibiotics and other additives to Big Agriculture, thereby assisting in the creation of more diabetic 'consumers'. Sort of like handing out crack at the middle school.

    Sort of reminds me of the smarmy & corrupt Martin Mull pharmacist character on (the otherwise repellent) sitcom 2 and 1/2 men: as he said with a smile, "The first bottle's on me".

  •  Bernstein book (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Farlfoto, InsultComicDog

    I totally agree with InsultComicDog on the Diabetes Solution book by Dr. Bernstein.  

    I have type 1 -- it's been 41 years now since I got it at 17.  I attribute most of my good health to following Dr. Bernstein's ideas.  I actually try to have a couple of extra books around to hand out to new diabetics ... sadly, I get to pass along a book pretty regularly nowadays.  So many new type 2's.  

    It is very irritating that Lantus costs so much.  Considering the fact that they make it in big vats at Eli Lilly, it should cost a heck of a lot less (sigh).

  •  Yup. Type 2 here. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueMississippi, InsultComicDog

    Being self-employed, small business guy, I was in the same predicament for a while until I found some solutions.

    I can't even buy insurance, because (1) Type 2 diabetes (2) taking Lisinopril (3) beta/minor Thalaxemia (genetic condition with absolutely no side-effects and no pills needed), according to my rejection letter.

    Thankfully, I'll be able to get ACA in a month (my 6 month w/o insurance is up). 40 year old Asian here.

    Fortunately, as a foreign-born resident, I was able to buy what I need from back home 3rd world country I'd rather not name.

    I've got my Metformin, Lisinopril, Crestor from back home. $100 for one year worth of supplies, which is what I was paying for copay in 2 months with the best insurance available in the States.

    Metformin I'm getting is German "Metformin Denk" brand. Lisinopril and Crestor is India made. So, definitely not the FUD people told you about fake pharmacy from oversea pitch. If all overseas drugs are fake, all people there would be dead by now. Take what they take locally there and you will be fine.

    Of course, I'm not sure about shipping insulin because it might require refrigeration. I think some don't. Nonetheless, the cost is not much because my dad is on insulin and he's been on it for 10 years. No complaint about cost for him back home. He uses 26 units (22 and 4, I think) a day in total. Something 70/30 type insulin, I think. He spends about $25 every 4-6 weeks is what I remember. Not sure if this seems accurate.

    Whatever you do don't buy from online oversea shops.  Ask a friend who live there or the overseas exchange student you are hosting, or simply invite an international student for Thanksgiving and ask him/her.

    If you have a friend in places like Thailand, Malaysia, India, ask them for help. I need no stinking prescription help here. Checkups are another matter.

    However, if you are close to bigger cities like New York, there are plenty of licensed doctors in Asian communities like China-towns where they charge you only $25 per doctor visit, the same as what my co-pay used to be with the best insurance. For some reason medical tests are also cheaper there.

    Same with dental care. US trained and licensed dentists. $25-$45 per cleaning. $50-$100 per fillings. $150 for root canal. $175 for wisdom tooth removal with local anesthesia. All not that bad there in big cities.

    I know these because I have a relative in New York City who is a doctor and an aunt who is a dentist there. So, these are the things to do when you are visiting there for holiday or tourism. They do more business with cash paying patients than people with insurance. New York loves cash dealings.

    So, all in all, you will need to be creative and have to count on yourself. The pharma companies, the insurance companies, and even government (before Obama that is) won't do it for you.

    Yes. Democrats are right. It makes no sense that healthcare in 1st world has to come down to shopping around like I did.

    •  Metformin is pretty cheap anyway (0+ / 0-)

      I get 180 of them at Target for $24, they may be even cheaper elsewhere

    •  by the way I used to buy generic Avandia (0+ / 0-)

      overseas. good stuff. The FDA has mostly banned it at this point, but it always worked pretty well for me.

      •  Avandia Met (0+ / 0-)

        Yeah. Avandia Met was what I was on when I had insurance through my spouse. 500mg/2mg x 2/day.

        I agree: I had the best control with that. This is the one which cost almost as high overseas. Probably because it is an advanced type of newer drug.

        My morning fasting was 85 with that, around 100 with Metformin (850mg x 2) only. 2 hour PP stays the same with both.

        With all the heart-attack news, an internist switched me to tried and true Metformin only.

        Metformin is pretty cheap. Lisinopril and Crestor were the more expensive ones. Mine was $100 for all 3 per year. I'm pretty happy with that. One less problem to worry about among many!

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