MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota – On Friday, June 28, T1International #insulin4all advocates from the United States, in partnership with Health Care Voter, will join in a Caravan to Canada to purchase insulin at a significantly lower cost on the other side of the border. Advocates from T1International’s Minnesota #insulin4all Chapter will gather in Minneapolis, Minnesota and begin their journey. From there, the Chapter will travel to Lansing, Michigan to join the Michigan #insulin4all Chapter, with advocates from numerous other #insulin4all Chapters joining the caravan along the way.
This trip will allow people with diabetes and their families to save money on a medication that is essential to the survival of patients with type 1 diabetes, and will illustrate the critical price difference between the insulin available in the United States and the identical drug available in Canada. Advocates will emphasize the need for federal government action to create true, long-term solutions to relieve suffering and end deaths due to rationing insulin.
Since 1996, the list price of insulin has increased by 1300% in the United States, and patients without insurance or with high-deductible insurance plans now pay an average of $300 per vial. Meanwhile, patients in Canada pay around $40 per vial for insulin made by the same corporations. Studies have estimated that a vial of analog insulin costs between 3.69 and $6.16 to manufacture.
T1International’s Executive Director, Elizabeth Pfiester, said about the Caravan, “We know that many people couldn’t make this trip because they cannot afford the costs associated with traveling to another country to buy insulin there. Our T1International Chapters exist to push for long-term solutions for everyone, and we hope this will emphasize the need for urgent reform to ensure that all patients have affordable and continuous access to their essential insulin.”
“Access to life saving drugs should be a right, not a privilege,” said Health Care Voter Campaign Director Rosemary Enobakhare. “No one should die because they cannot afford their insulin — and we need politicians and pharmaceutical executives to start defending patient lives.”
While in Canada, the group will also visit Banting House, known as “the birthplace of insulin.” Banting House is the historic home of Sir Frederick Banting, who, together with Charles Best, James Collip, and John Macleod, discovered insulin in 1922. The men sold the patent for insulin to the University of Toronto in 1923 for $1 each, in the hopes that insulin would be available and affordable to all who needed it. T1International will hold a press conference during the group’s visit to Banting House. More information about the press conference is forthcoming.
T1International and Health Care Voter invite the press and U.S. politicians to join them on this caravan, to talk to #insulin4all advocates and their families about how the exorbitant cost of insulin in the United States has affected their lives. Chapter Leaders and patient advocates are prepared to work with anyone who is ready to take measures to truly put an end to the insulin price crisis.
This trip is being organized by Quinn Nystrom, Chapter Leader of T1International’s Minnesota #insulin4all Chapter, and Jillian Rippolone, Chapter Leader of the Michigan #insulin4all Chapter. They pioneered similar insulin Caravans to Canada in May 2019. Together with T1International and advocates from several of T1International’s other #insulin4all Chapters, Nystrom and Rippolone hope this larger trip will benefit more individuals who are struggling with the cost of insulin.
“Buying insulin abroad makes a strong point about how insulin manufacturers are price gouging patients, but it isn’t addressing the root cause of the problem: the need for lower list prices across the board,” said Nystrom.
Rippolone added, “We will keep advocating until everyone has affordable access to the insulin and supplies they need.”
Questions about T1International should be directed to U.S. Advocacy Manager Allison Bailey by phone at (202) 417-6115,or by email to [email protected].
T1International is a global type 1 diabetes advocacy organization run by people with type 1 diabetes for people with type 1 diabetes. T1International believes in a world where everyone with type 1 diabetes – no matter where they live – has everything they need to survive and achieve their dreams. The organization accepts no funding from pharmaceutical companies and provides advocacy training and support to advocates. In 2014 T1International launched the #insulin4all campaign, which has grown into a global movement. T1International supports 28 Chapters in more than 30 states.
Health Care Care Voter is a national advocacy campaign that aims to mobilize voters to hold elected officials accountable for their attacks on people’s access to quality, affordable health care. Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, Health Care Voter ran a seven-figure mobilization to help make health care a top issue for voters. The campaign held nearly 1,000 events, earned nearly 90 million impressions online, created a 50-state national voter guide, hosted two national bus tours, ran paid mail and radio programs, and amplified voter stories from every corner of the country.