Exorbitant Diabetes Costs Must be Addressed

Exorbitant Diabetes Costs Must be Addressed

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We are surprised and disappointed that for World Health Day 2016, there is almost no mention of access to diabetes supplies or insulin. The WHO has chosen ‘beat diabetes’ as the theme for World Health Day this year, ignoring those who cannot afford or obtain their vital and essential medicines. The theme is insensitive and ignorant to those living with diabetes whose lives are most in jeopardy.

This is why T1International is sharing some data from our Insulin & Diabetes Supply Survey. We ask that you spread the word and use the hashtags #insulin4all and #whd2016 as much as possible on and around World Health Day (7 April).

We launched our Survey in March to look at prices people pay out-of-pocket for their vital insulin, test strips, and diabetes care. We asked respondents to let us know the type of insulin they take, how they take it, how much they must pay for it, as well as what type of test strips they use and their cost, and the other costs associated with their diabetes management. We compared monthly out-of-pocket costs for diabetes with average monthly wages in each country and explored whether people use ketone strips and the glucagon injection, which are life-saving when blood sugars are too high or too low.

So far more than 100 people have completed the survey from 39 different countries. We are honoured that so many people have shared their experience with us so far. The information gives us a wider picture of the global situation for people with diabetes. It confirms what we already know – that living with diabetes is a struggle for many and an exorbitant financial burden for others.

Our survey results demonstrate that pricing and payment for things like insulin, test strips, and other diabetes life-savers is, simply put, a mess. As one respondent from Pakistan put it: It’s a very expensive disease and a poor man cannot afford the expensive medicines. To cover the costs associated with diabetes management, people around the world pay anything from 0% of monthly income to 118% of their monthly income. That’s right – the costs of living with type 1 diabetes each month can be MORE than the average monthly wage. How is this acceptable? Why is the global health community not doing more to address this, especially on days like World Health Day?

Below are just some of the topline data we collected and quotes from respondents around the world. Please share this information widely and point people to for more information.

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