Today, Monday, 3/25/2019, Dr. Oz says that millions are looking for dangerous ways to get their medicines due to sky-rocketing prices. Many depend on certain medicines for their life, including diabetics. Desperate families are turning to strangers to buy life-saving drugs. He goes undercover to find out if black market diabetes medication could be putting your life at risk.
In a statement, CVS Caremark spokeswoman Christine Cramer said, “In recent years, some manufacturers of diabetes medications have implemented large price increases that are having a negative impact on patients and their families.”
Dr. Aaron Kowalski, Chief Mission Officer for the non-profit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, said, “If you have an allergy to certain insulin, to have it be unaffordable, to have no choice besides staying up to date on a car payment or rent, that’s unconscionable.”
There is no generic for insulin, though less expensive “biosimilar” versions may hit the market at some point. Cheaper insulins do exist. You can get an older kind of insulin for $25 at Walmart. However, it requires multiple daily injections and rigorous meal plans and vigilance, hard enough for adults to maintain.
In recent months, the team found dozens of people posting ads on sites like Facebook and Craigslist from people offering to sell their insulin, which is illegal. One woman was selling Medicaid-paid insulin because she needed the money.
We don’t know if they’ve been contaminated. And we don’t know what happens when people don’t use what they’re given and place their health at risk. When people fail to manage diabetes by testing and taking prescribed insulin, they put their own health and risk and can end up in the hospital. Some are allergic to certain insulin and purchase the wrong prescription.
While it’s against the law to sell prescription drugs online, you can legally sell diabetic testing supplies, unless they come from a free government health program like Medicare, Medicaid or the VA.
A recent inspector general report says Medicare spends more than a billion dollars a year on test strips.
The report describes that diabetic test strip program as vulnerable to “fraud, waste, and abuse.”
Photo courtesy of Bing via medscape.com