Rising insulin prices causing stress for Abilene diabetics


ABILENE, Texas - A study shows that the cost of commonly-used insulin saw about a 65-percent increase, and it's affecting Abilene residents.

Hendrick Medical Center pharmacist Greg Young said he's seeing local diabetics struggle to afford their insulin, which they use on a daily basis to survive. According to, from Jan. 2013 to Oct. 2016, those costs rose from about $300 to $500.

"The information they're getting from their doctors is often this, you need to be on insulin," Young said. "Then they go to the pharmacy and find out it's going to be hundreds of dollars a month even with insurance. So these people are very overwhelmed."

Though type 1 diabetics have no choice but to use insulin, type 2 diabetics frequently use it as well. Since both types of diabetes can lead to other health issues like heart or kidney disease, keeping it under control is crucial to living a healthy life.

"I feel like it's unfair, the ways things are priced for people with diabetes," Young said. "I see it every day, people who are struggling to afford their insulin. It's very troubling to me and it's overwhelming for the patient. It really is."

Due to the necessity of insulin, the American Diabetes Association issued a resolution to Congress in November calling for access to affordable insulin. The resolution wants all parties, from manufacturing up to distributors, to be looked at to find a way to decrease the cost of insulin. Though action is being taken to solve the issue, there is no time frame for when prices could go down.

In the meantime, there are actions you can take to help your financial situation if you're having trouble paying for your insulin.

If you're in Abilene, Hendrick Medical Center offers help and education when it comes to understanding and paying for your insulin, both through the pharmacy or the Hendrick Diabetes Center.

"We have a support group every first Tuesday of the month at the Shelton Building on the second floor from 6-7pm," said Donna Goble with the Hendrick Diabetes Center. "It's open to the public ages 18 and up for free. We teach you about your symptoms, how to use your insulin, what you should be eating, and answer whatever questions you may have about your diabetes."

If you'd have any questions about paying for your insulin or how to manage your diabetes, you can contact the Hendrick pharmacy or the Hendrick Diabetes Center.

For those not located in Abilene, you're urged to talk to your insurance company and see if there are any other brands of insulin they would be willing to cover at a lower cost. If they don't, you can look into patient benefit programs offered by several insulin brands like Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi.

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