Why American Diabetics Go to Mexico and Craiglist for Insulin | NYT Opinion

Why American Diabetics Go to Mexico and Craiglist for Insulin | NYT Opinion

I should not have to cross
a border to buy my insulin. I should not have to buy my
insulin in a parking lot off a stranger as if it were a drug deal. None of us should fear death
from a perfectly manageable disease, but we do
because American drug makers can arbitrarily raise
prices to line their pockets. And Congress hasn’t done
anything to stop them. Type 1 diabetes is an
autoimmune disease. Your pancreas doesn’t
produce any insulin. You have to rely on injecting
insulin every few hours or so. In 2001, this vial cost $34.8. Today, the list price is about $275. Insulin has been
around for 100 years and hasn’t really
changed in the last 20. So you’d expect insulin prices
to go down, not up. Instead, just by slightly tweaking
formulas or packaging, Eli Lilly, Novo
Nordisk and Sanofi can extend patents,
increase prices and prevent affordable generics. The sticker price
is made higher by so-called safe
harbor regulations. These protect what
would otherwise be illegal kickbacks between
greedy pharma companies, pharmacy benefit managers
and other middlemen. The price for kickbacks is
ultimately passed on to me, the diabetic. We either
buy insulin or we die and we would like to live. We would like to live. We would like to live. My son Alec was an energetic, fun loving. He was just, he was
just so full of life. When Alec was no
longer eligible to stay on my insurance, he went to the pharmacy,
the very first time, without insurance
to purchase it and was told that it
was $1,300. So he ended up leaving the
pharmacy with nothing. He tried to eat
a low-carb diet and stretch out his insulin. His body was found
about three days prior to payday. Every single
one of his insulin pens were completely empty. So he had used everything
that he was able to use and passed away. What are we doing, Robin? We’re going to be patronizing
the good pharmacies of Tijuana, Mexico. Dang, that’s a lot of medicine. So we have about
$8,000 to $10,000 worth of insulin sitting
here on my lap. And we got it for about between
5% and 10% of U.S. retail price. So, I found this
guy, since I got introduced to this underground
world on the app called OfferUp, and he constantly
has insulin on deck. I just text him. He tells me the
expiration date. He tells me the price per box.
He’s been like my number one dealer, like drug dealer, I would say. I created an Instagram
account to show Type 1 diabetics leading normal
lives, but it’s also become this platform for
people to donate and trade diabetes supplies. It’s terrifying that people
have to turn to Instagram or any type of social media
for insulin. For us, this is like oxygen. Some
local representatives have had the audacity
to say that if we struggle to find
insulin, we should go to the emergency room. But I take six to
10 shots a day. Should I move into the
nurse’s station? Now, to their credit,
Congress is finally investigating the
rising cost of insulin, but there is a long road
between this investigation and real change, because big
pharma companies like Eli Lilly are huge donors to
congressional re-election campaigns. I have been working
with legislators to create not only state laws, but federal laws that would
hold pharmaceutical companies accountable. Eli Lilly, Novo
Nordisk and Sanofi should answer our
calls for transparency. If they can’t, they should
welcome generic competition, which will set a fair price. They’ll tell you they just
released a cheaper insulin at about half the cost. But it’s not good
enough. As long as big pharma can get away
with zero transparency and patent abuse, they will. It’s time that Congress moved
beyond this investigation. We need our representatives
to actually hold drug companies accountable
by fixing our broken patent and kickback laws. Because we shouldn’t have to risk our lives to save our lives.

Comments (100)

  1. You don't even need to go to Mexico. Insulin in Canada is a lot cheaper than USA. Lantus is ~CAD100$ in Canada compared to ~USD280$ in USA. That is like 5 times cheaper.

  2. Thanks lord emperor trump and his worshipers

  3. im bout to be the insulin plug! hit my line! girls get a lil discount;)

  4. shame i get mine from the chemist

  5. It's incredibly cheap for them to make too…..Just like the EPI pens that people with allergies REQUIRED to carry on them to save their lives jumped like 400%…..#populationcontrol

  6. I discovered that my medication was $500 for 10 pills, so I went to Mexico to get it instead. Not only was it cheaper in the long run, it was also the same quality as American medication. I hate Big Pharma.

  7. in canada its 30$ or free if your a canadian citizen under 25 or over senior age

  8. The drugs in Mexico are made by the same US companies yet they are cheaper there. What are they doing that we aren't? They will sell the same drugs to foreigners for a fraction of the price.

  9. lol just move to Canada.

  10. Please read a book called counter clockwise

  11. As a Diabetic in a country where insulin is free, this is sad to see


  13. laughs in European


  15. Just come to my country and buy inulin for 2.73 dollars becuase it is 300 pkr

  16. I hate the new York times but this is a great video.

  17. Diabetes is not a disease, it is a bad lifestyle and diet. My girlfriend has diabetes when she met me, her blood sugar levels were at 500. I cured her naturally and healthy through diet and apothecary. She is now down to 160s and dropping lower everyday she is with me. She just didn't know how to eat, everything she consumed had garbage in it.

  18. Mexico actually has some of the greatest surgeons, doctors and medicine, idk why people look down at what Mexico has.

  19. This actually sucks because I’m turning 18 next year so I have to get health care soon

  20. Aw man, people can choose the price of the product that they are selling? What madness! The government which we completely trust should regulate everything sold on the market

  21. It’s a free market

  22. Why do you expect the government to do anything

  23. You pay for insulin in murica????? I'm sorry for you.

  24. in britain we have nothing like this, everyone gets insulin if they need it. i never thought that the rest of the world was suffering and especially a country like america. it’s disgusting

  25. Note to the trump trading war. The only victims are gonna be the American citizens who buy the products. And to be honest, some products if China won’t provide, it would be hard to find another place that produce the same quality products with an even cheaper price.
    I really want to tell trump supporters, think twice of what you have done.

  26. My sister has type 1 diabetes and we’re so lucky that diabetic supplies are free here in Sweden.

  27. Come to the U.K. it’s free

  28. "lazy immigrants coming to our country for their own benefit"

  29. Again blame the big business that buys it.

  30. 157 Pharmaceutical company executives have disliked this video.

  31. RIP all the people who have this disease that wont ever be cured.

  32. Instead of all these politicians being in the pockets of big pharma, they should be regulating the pharmaceutical industry. Theres no need for the tv viewer to be inundated with pharmaceutical commercials on the level of Broadway productions, who do you think those advertising costs are being paid by, the consumer. Pharmaceutical advertising should be banned in every outlet except professional periodicals.

  33. Us $285 NZ $5 and america thinks it is no 1 in the world

  34. Big pharma is BS. it's the complete opposite of the free market that the US is supposed to have.

  35. in my country, hospitals BEG for diabetics to get it from them and to use it. Now, the government made a new law to make sure any medicines are fully use, not going to landfill.

  36. Wow, it's that bad

  37. My Dads insulin is several hundred dollars every month. He can't afford that On disability. Only reason he's still alive is because his Dr supplies him with free samples …… wtf

  38. The us has the most expensive healthcare system in the world, yet ranks way down the list of countries with best patient outcomes according to the world health organisation. Due to the expensive cost of treatment it actually costs every us tax payer 8 times more in tax to offer Obama care to the uninsured, excluding the cost of their own insurance compared to the European style Universal health care system, which ranks far higher by the world health organisation along with Canada for patient outcomes. Big pharma and insurance companies hold the power in the US and this needs to change!

  39. “aMeRiCa Is NuMbEr OnE”

  40. Im a diabetic and i live in the netherlands my insulin is free!

  41. If you go to craigslist for insulin, then you are risking your life twice

  42. In Norway Its free

  43. The USA is lost and a failure.

  44. My mother's pill is 5 times cheaper in Mexico and France. Instead of paying US$1,000 a month in the USA, it's $200.

  45. Canary seed milk is better than insulin.
    My dad stop injecting and using insulin after this recipe…as an organic farmer .advise stop using that shshjdjs

  46. The worst country ever

  47. I live in Tijuana and it is true that many US citizens buy medicine here, and they buy tons of it at once. I hope people move/protest to achieve a better healthcare system for every social range, not just the 'rich'.

  48. I am not saying Serbia has the best healthcare system in the world, but compared to the US we are golden. If you are a diabetic insulin is provided by the state and the healthcare is essentialy free for you if you are employed or a child (unemployed – you have to pay 2000 diners (15$) a month for the pension fund and healthcare.

  49. Tretinoin in the Philippine grocery. 1 dollar
    Tretinoin in the US Pharmace WITH a prescription. 100 dollars.

  50. To be honest if i was north american and diabetic i'd think about making my own insulin out of pig pancreas.

  51. And the people of the USA want to call other countries third world.


  53. Tbh it’s much cheaper in Jamaica as well

  54. Bernie about to end their careers, lol.

  55. My daughter has T1D and I’m terrified what will happen when she no longer will be on my insurance and moves out of state. I can’t even fathom what her pump supplies are going to cost her. Not kidding when I say I’m stockpiling every supply reorder whether she needs it or not. I’d rather she have months to figure out the system than weeks. Insulin is something that can’t be stockpiled so well. Has to be refrigerated, and has a shelf life. Canada will be her best bet.

  56. Insulin’s Inventor Sold the Patent for $1. Then Drug Companies Got Hold of It.

  57. in Uganda, insulin costs $1 with no insurance. I can send it to you

  58. If this model continues to increase then the pharmaceutical companies will lose a lot of money due to a decrease of customers.

  59. In the UK insulin is free!

  60. Elect party independent representatives who owe nothing to corporations or party leadership.

    Oh, you'd rather stick to your flavor of politics. In that case, shut up and pay up.

  61. Cause Americans pay higher prices to support Deadbeat Mexicans

  62. Because they're lazy leftist weaklings who should try working an honest day for one God dam time in their otherwise worthless lives?

  63. It's alright, as long as she has money to get those tats everything is good.

  64. worlds greatest but costliest country to Live? Greatness is myth>?

  65. DOn't you have generic medicine like we have in poor countries? LOL!!

  66. Move to Mexico. Bye Felicia

  67. The AMERICAN thing to do would be to promote fair trade in the medical field. It is because of these issues that I consider myself biapartisian

  68. Stop this caravan

  69. Get money out of politics! Get lobbyists out of politics! Stop voting for people who are owned by corporate donors!

  70. Its pathetic to live without medicine in a world class country

  71. I’m very lucky to live in Sweden it’s free here

  72. I checked into this situation while in the US. Insulin is $25 per bottle at Walmart. Also, if short on funds, fill out a form once per year, and Big Pharma will supply insulin for free. I was concerned and hope my research helps those in need.

  73. Sue the govenment for felony murder rule..

  74. With the lady's son who died I wonder if he tried to get Medicaid because my cousin's wife is diabetic and she has a Medicaid card to pay for everything. She has never worked and was approved for Medicaid on the spot when she had to go to the hospital for an emergency

  75. The insulin pharma CEO’s should be arrested for theft and murder.

  76. to think that in my country this drugs are 100% suported by the state.

  77. I accidentally froze my insulin in Sweden and we had to go pick some up. I have a Swedish pass port but not a “social security” and we don’t pay taxes in Sweden just America, so we had to pay full price which was 20 dollars. I knew it was cheaper but it’s a big shocker when you see it.

  78. Having lived in Europe i can say Americans are being lied to. We have a government that is purposefully negligent and leaves its people at the hands of private interests who are ripping us off. The military, healthcare, education, the justice system… everything is about profit at the expense of average Americans.

  79. yall mfs wildin im turning up letgo just to get a cart

  80. No need to worry fellow Americans. I will stock up on insulin soon. Just as soon as i buy a ton

  81. I checked with my local pharmacy here in France and insulin costs 36€ for 5 pens. The price in the USA is insane!

  82. If today Dorothea Lange travelled around the US, she could point her camera left and right to photograph not just the poor but the generally disenfranchised.

  83. Haha your country is a joke

  84. That's why i moved to Espana baby at least till trump is out of office. Make alot less but everythings pretty much free.

  85. I go to Mexico 2 weeks in summer and another 2 weeks in winter. Try to get all my health care visits during that time. How come medicine is half price in Mexico then greedy pharma in the US.

  86. Omg poor mom who lost her son

  87. As a type 1 Diabetic, this hit me hard. America has a long way to go and needs to sort this out. I am so fortunate to live in a country with free healthcare and am disgusted that people in such a wealthy country live like this.

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