Health Tips

Diabetes patients respond to Herald Special Report

Staggering insulin prices are hitting diabetes patients in the pocketbook across the nation as responses poured in from the Herald’s Special Report Monday on diabetics turning to Canada for relief.

Sara Shannon from Austin, Texas, said she has been spending nearly $1,000 a month on insulin for her 26-year-old son, Bill Shannon, who has Type 1 diabetes.

“It’s a matter of life and death,” said Sara, who recently turned to Canada to ease the financial burden. “Thank God for the Canadian pharmacies. I just found out about them a month ago.”

Bill will be starting a new job at the end of the month, but until then he needs a steady supply of about three vials of insulin a month to live, his mother said.

“It’s very very hard as a parent, to watch your child suffer in any way is hard for any parent. I feel incredibly sad and pained for those families struggling to afford this medication,” said Sara, who expressed gratitude for a steady job that allows her and her husband to afford the out-of-pocket insulin costs.

Greg Porell, 60, of Dedham was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last year when he suddenly starting losing weight and noticed issues with his vision. He was then hospitalized for three days in the intensive care unit with ketoacidosis, a complication of type 1 diabetes.

“I’m finding it harder to manage the insulin cost than the disease,” said Porell, who has health insurance through work and still spends about $600 for a 50 day supply of insulin.

“I have certainly been thinking about the long term for this, it’s going to end up costing close to $5,000 a year,” Porell said.

Others like Jimmy E., 54 of Holyoke have turned to Walmart to buy insulin, an option that costs him about $150 a month. He’s had diabetes for 15 years and has seen prices rise steadily over time.

This Article First Published on www.bostonherald.com

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