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Nicole Smith-Holt Statement on Eli Lilly Helpline Announcement

Nicole Smith-Holt Statement on Eli Lilly Helpline Announcement

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Yesterday, Eli Lilly announced that in August, they will be launching a new helpline to assist people who need help paying for their insulin.

We need to make sure that insulin is affordable and accessible to 100% of all people with diabetes. I hope that this is just a starting point for Lilly, but they have a long road ahead to ensure that each and every person dependent on their insulin for survival lives a healthy life with affordable and accessible insulin.

Lilly is also looking at providing 150 clinics with insulin. How in the world can 150 clinics serve millions of people struggling to afford their insulin? This is just the first problem I have with their plan. Assistance programs and free clinics are already in place and they are not solving the issue.

It appears that this announcement and helpline is mainly a PR stunt. I do not see how it can even come close to solving the issue at hand. Novo Nordisk raised their prices by 5% this month. We have seen Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly’s prices going up in lock-step, so we should all be on the lookout for a price increase on Eli Lilly’s insulin.

On the morning of Lilly’s announcement, I received a press release along with an email from Eli Lilly's PR person. Unfortunately, it was not from Mr. Mike Mason himself, as he promised at our sit down meeting in May. Actually, I have had no contact with him at all since our meeting when I spoke about Alec and he told me I had his commitment to internalize this and to do better. Why didn’t he and his team reach out to me to work with them on solutions, rather than sharing their plan on the day of the press release? This is an insult to Alec.

I replied to Lilly’s PR person that she should keep me updated when they actually have a solution that would benefit all diabetics, like making their products affordable to all.

I vow to continue to fight for the rights and lives of all people with diabetes. I am doing all this in honor of my son, Alec Raeshawn Smith. I invite Lilly to work with me and non-industry funded organizations like T1International so that we can find real solutions to ensure #insulin4all. Mr. Mason, I am still waiting to hear from you.

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