TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Over 37 million Americans have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A study from the University of Pittsburgh states the price of insulin has increased more than 260 percent over the last two decades. For uninsured Hillsborough County residents like Connie Bianchi, paying for the life-saving medication is difficult.
“It’s almost unattainable now because of the high costs,” Bianchi said.
Bianchi said her family spends around $600 a month on medication and supplies for her son with type-one diabetes. The family says they’re facing hard times and currently don’t have health insurance, so they have to make tough financial decisions.
“You’re put in that position on where you have to choose between literally a roof over your head, food on the table, or do you keep this person alive,” she said.
Dr. Katherine Wojnowich, a primary care physician at Bayfront Health, said not taking insulin can be dangerous.
“They can develop what’s called Ketoacidosis and that can actually lead a patient to being in the hospital and being admitted, so we want to prevent that,” Dr. Wojnowich saId.
Research from the University of Pittsburgh shows the insulin price surge is forcing families like Bianchi’s to ration insulin doses. However, an endocrinologist told News Channel 8 there are options for these struggling families.
“Here’s what you do, go to one of the multiple low cost or free clinics many of them have a coordinator, that if that patient follows through and at low costs sees a physician regularly, they can secure that, that patient gets the very best insulin available for free,” said Dr. Manuel C. Sainz De La Pena with the Florida Medical Clinic.
If you need help finding affordable insulin, managing diabetes, or are at risk of developing the disease, please see the below resources:
- Florida Insulin Distribution Program
- The National Diabetes Prevention Program
- American Diabetes Association