Man Died After Using Cheaper Insulin While Trying To Save Up For Wedding
An American man has died after using cheaper insulin so he could save money for his wedding.
When Josh Wilkerson turned 26, he was too old to be included on his stepfather's health insurance and couldn't afford his insulin, which was worth almost $1,200 (£987) per month when covered by the policy.
The NY Post reports that shortly after the costs started to mount, a doctor recommended taking ReliOn, an over-the-counter brand sold for $25 (£21) a vial at Walmart - a tenth of the price of the insulin his body was used to.
Josh and his fiancée Rose had been planning to get married in October 2019. Tragically, Rose found Josh unresponsive at the northern Virginia dog kennel where he worked. He had suffered multiple strokes and fallen into a diabetic coma.
His family and fiancee made the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support machine. Josh was just 27 when he lost his life.
The insulin Josh switched to is known as 'human insulin', which predates the 'analogue insulin' more routinely prescribed by doctors.
Todd Hobbs, chief medical officer for Novo Nordisk, the company that manufacture ReliOn, told the Independent that ReliOn is just as effective as 'analogue insulin' alternatives if taken far enough in advance of meals.
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Marilee McInnes, a spokesperson for Walmart, also told the publication: "The high cost of insulin is a concern for those trying to manage their diabetes, and human insulin can be a less expensive alternative, but it may not be right for everyone."
She cautioned against using 'human insulin' without consulting a doctor.
In a post written on a diabetes advocacy blog, Josh's mum, Erin Weaver said: "People in the United States of America are dying from type 1 diabetes. For many people, the cost for life saving medications each month is the same as an average month's rent - or more.
"How is an average American to afford this? When it comes to type 1 diabetes, people are facing unthinkable decisions - between the costs of living and their very lives - because they live with a non-preventable disease."
In May, the governor of Colorado signed legislation meaning that insurance co-payments on insulin should be capped to $100 (£82) a month, which should hopefully prevent similar tragedies in the future. The Trump administration claim they are looking at ways to reduce the cost of prescription drugs such as insulin also.
Featured Image Credit: #insulin4all USA/Erin Weaver