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Woman forced to ration diabetes medication due to high costs

Posted at 12:18 PM, Dec 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-08 12:18:24-05

INDIANAPOLIS – For one Indianapolis woman, a medicine that she needs to help stay alive is forcing her to make life or death decisions because of its high cost.

For more than more than 695,000 thousand Hoosiers who are diagnosed with diabetes, their medication, and testing kits are helping to keep them alive.

Sa’ra Skipper was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was five-years-old and says she shouldn’t be here today because of how many times she has had to ration her insulin.

“I had to stretch out the little 30-day samples that I was given because I'm a college student I didn't have any money,” Skipper said. “I'm still expected to pay a thousand dollars for a 30-day supply.”

A new report from Yale University says 25 percent of patients who need insulin ration their supply because they can't afford to fill their prescriptions.

Even now with a full-time job and insurance she still has to rely on her other family members who also have diabetes to share their insulin and on free samples from her doctor.

When asked how much it cost to produce insulin, Eli Lily said it is confidential due for competitive reasons.

Fran Quigley, an advocate with People of Faith for Access to Medicines and a professor at the Indiana University McKinney School of Law says it costs about $5 to make a vial of insulin and is being sold for as much as $300.

“The same vial of insulin that today will cost folks in Indianapolis as much as $300," Quigley said. "The same formula the same insulin in the late 1990s was available for $28."

For patients who can’t get their insulin, it can have fatal consequences.

For Skipper, she says she wants politicians to require drug companies to disclose how much they are profiting off of the life-saving medication.

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