American’s Looking at Insulin from Canada
According to recent data (from SEMrush) diabetics (both type 1 and type 2) are showing more interest in buying insulin from Canada and other sources outside the United States of America.
What could be motivating this demographic to be making these decisions and why wouldn’t they just get it from local pharmacies? Perhaps these questions can be closer examined and explained when we see the cost difference in a bottle of insulin when someone has insurance verses someone who does not.
When was Insulin from Canada Invented?
Insulin comes in many brands and is made by several different manufactures however most cost under $10 (USD) to make per vial and costs upwards of $300 (USD) without insurance. Indeed, quite a big payoff for big pharma when one considers that the scientist who discovered insulin Banting, Collip and Best on January 23rd, 1923 were awarded U.S. patents on insulin and the method used to make it.
They all sold these patents to the University of Toronto for $1 each. Banting famously said, “Insulin does not belong to me, it belongs to the world.” He wanted everyone who needed it to have access to it. Depending on the insurances company, policy, brand of insulin, etc. Therefore, someone with insurance may only pay $35 (UDS) out of pocket for their insulin.
It is excruciating to think about people who have rationed their insulin simply because without a job that allows benefits to their employee’s many suffer making choices like can I afford my rent or my insulin this month?
Why are Americans increasingly looking insulin from Canada?
With profits being made by these large companies it isn’t likely that insulin prices in America are going to change anytime soon, regardless of what politicians may say. When it’s a capitalist system and they know people need something to live it justifies to them whatever price they know people will be willing to pay so they will not die.
Firstly, it is an incredibly frustrating and sad situation that many find themselves in. Secondly, it creates an endless cycle: a diabetic needs insulin to live, diabetic can’t afford it, they don’t take enough to keep blood glucose in control, diabetic gets sick, they end up in the hospital, medical bills are high, they then have an even harder time affording their insulin. And finally, it ends up just happening again and again. Until eventually they have irreversible complications for their numbers being out of control or they have been running so high for so long they go into Diabetic Keto Acidosis. Which if untreated can cause a coma and death.
How insulin from Canada is exported
What are the alternatives to this sad ending? Well, affordable healthcare or a cap on insulin pricing would be a great place to start. Until there is a time where those exist taking advantage of opportunities to buy insulin at affordable prices from other countries is a viable option for many.
Surprisingly many people have reservations about sending their prescriptions out of the country. What if they need it now and can’t get it in an emergency? However, it isn’t as scary as some people think it is. There are laws that say you can’t get more than 3 months of prescriptions at a time. However, they are very responsive when you make a refill request.
They send them quickly packed in Styrofoam and icepacks to keep it cool till it gets to your door. It is not illegal in any way to order from these companies who sell prescriptions to people outside the country. Usually, the laws are just different there and with their country having universal healthcare drugs like insulin is set to a certain price and they can’t charge more for it.
Although the prescriptions are not generic forms of what people are already taking it is the same product that the patients have been taking from the same manufactures it’s just taking out the government and big pharma’s personal tax on it. America doesn’t regulate how much any medication costs so they think they can charge a huge amount for it and get away with a huge profit on medications that patients need to survive.
How to order insulin from Canada safely
Some Americans will never be convinced that it’s safe to order prescription drugs from companies outside the United States. Being afraid that there is something wrong with the medication is a real problem that people are being faced with. Scammers are everywhere and they will prey on everyone including the especially desperate. Not knowing if it is the real deal or what is in the medication is a real problem for some who would rather pay more to not take the risk.
Since the pandemic many patients have turned to getting their prescriptions from other countries. In fact, more than 2 million Americans are outsourcing their prescriptions. There could be two motivating factors as to why Americans are making this change. First being that many were left without insurance due to losing their job or being furloughed during Covid. And the aftereffects of inflation resulting from the pandemic that is still being felt globally. When everything else rises in cost people must scrimp and save where they can to afford everything.
The way healthcare in America is handled is extremely unfortunate. Those without insurance as diabetics are very much being abused by the system. Paying 3 to 4 times what they should be for insulin for sale online is outrageous. Diabetes is the most expensive of the chronic diseases in our nation $1 in every $4 in US health care costs is being spent on caring for people with diabetes.
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Article By: Miranda Montgomery