A quarter of people with type 1 diabetes in the United States ration their insulin, according to a new survey from T1International, a charity that advocates for affordable insulin.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin is necessary help move glucose from the blood into body cells for energy.
The online survey included 1,478 people in 90 countries, with 40% of the participants living in the United States. The responses showed that, worldwide, 18% of people with type 1 had rationed their insulin at least once in the past year, which increases the risk of a variety of short-term complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and long-term complications such as nerve, eye and kidney damage. Excluding the United States, only 6.5% of respondents reported rationing their insulin in the previous year among high-income countries.
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“The prices of insulin are astronomical, and even patients with good insurance coverage are getting squeezed.… They’re having to make choices. I see this every day in my practice,” noted Mark Schutta, MD, the director of the Penn Rodebaugh Diabetes Center at Penn Medicine, in an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Congress recently held hearings on rising insulin costs in the United States, and groups of patients have started forming ‘caravans’ to Canada, where the medicine is available at lower prices.
Want to learn how to save money on your insulin? Read “Insulin Prices: Four Ways to Pay Less.”
Senior Digital Editor for DiabetesSelfManagement.com, Fennell has 16 years’ experience specializing in diabetes and related health conditions. Based in New York City, she has a degree from Columbia University.