Advocating for Patients
Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) recently held a press conference at Community Health Centers of Burlington to unveil legislation he authored that will provide relief from soaring insulin prices for patients with diabetes. Joining him were
Dr. Joel Schnure, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, and two Vermont patients with diabetes.
Connie Woodworth, who has type 2 diabetes, talked about the health problems she has faced because her insurance company would not cover the insulin formulation
her doctor prescribed and instead forced her to use its preferred insulin. “From the begining it was not working, but because they require a first fail l was on it for six months. Finally, after an ER visit and increased health problems,
l was allowed to switch. I am now taking even more medication and under the care of a cardiologist."
Elia Spates Marquis, who has type 1 diabetes and requires daily insulin, spoke to the multiple dramatic price increases for her treatment. ”The insulin that I take now costs over $2015.00 out of pocket per month, yes…out
of pocket! The rise that I have seen in this price in the last 22 years is astronomical. Stop and think about how you would manage your finances if you were paying over $1200 per month in insurance premiums and paying an additional $2000 per
month for a medication that is literally keeping you alive."
Dr. Schnure supported these patients’ statements and confirmed that many patients cannot afford their full doses of insulin. “So they skip doses or take half the dose and suddenly their diabetes is totally out of control. We deal
with this almost every single day."
Welch's legislation would allow patients, pharmacists, and wholesalers to import lower-cost insulin from Canada and other countries. The FDA would certify all foreign exporters of insulin, the insulin would be eligible for insurance coverage, and
patients will still need a prescription to obtain it.