On Friday, a self-described “caravan” of Minnesotans with Type 1 diabetes drove 600 miles from the Twin Cities to Fort Frances, Ont., as a form of protest against exorbitant insulin prices in the U.S. Tweeting with the hashtags #CaravanToCanada and #Insulin4All, those participating sought to obtain the life-saving medication and remind Americans just how ridiculously high the price of insulin is in the U.S. in comparison to other countries, as per Newsweek.
The numbers spell out a story of profits over people. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) recently ordered a report exposing that the millions of Americans who need insulin to live are paying up to 92% more than diabetics in other countries. Data from Truven Health Analytics also shows that the cost of insulin has shot up more than 1,100% since the mid-’90s, even though production costs amount to less than $10. Prices like these are why parents protested the pharmaceutical company Sanofi in November, bringing their deceased children’s ashes to show executives the human cost of their actions.
Lija Greenseid took part in the caravan because of her 13-year-old daughter, who has Type 1 diabetes. Greenseid says that the cost of insulin has been a “big economic burden” to their family, and explained to Newsweek how other countries provide the medication at a much more manageable price:
Whereas in the U.S., Greenseid said, five insulin pens might cost $700, in Canada, purchasing the same amount of insulin cost her family just $65. In Italy, it was $61.
She also explained that in Canada there was less red tape to cut through in order to access insulin:
This year it took me 15 phone calls to a variety of parts of the healthcare system over 11 days before I could get my daughter’s insulin refilled. And this is exactly the same insulin we’ve been getting for many years. But, in Canada, you just walk in and you buy it … It’s literally just as easy as you know, walking up to the pharmacy counter and asking for what you need.
While Trump has tweeted about the price regulation of prescription drugs, he has yet to take any meaningful action on the issue.