Rising cost of insulin causes students to choose between textbooks and their lives

By Madison McVay—

Guest Writer 

Imagine emptying your pocketbook every time you buy a textbook. While this is a reality for many college students, there is an even harsher reality for others. Although the price of textbooks may be high, the price of life-saving drugs, such as insulin, are just as much or more expensive. Though a student may be able to pass a class without a book or find one cheaper online, students who are living with Type 1 Diabetes have no choice but to spend additional thousands of dollars a year just to survive. ​ 

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), every 21 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is an auto-immune disease that causes the body to reject the pancreas. The pancreas secretes insulin, which leads to insulin breaking down the glucose/carbohydrates in the body to produce energy. This energy allows the body to function on a day to day basis. Humans cannot physically live without insulin.  

There is currently a drug monopoly “war” happening between insurance companies and people who suffer from Type 1 Diabetes. As diabetes becomes an increasingly prevalent disease, it has given insurance companies a motive to increase the price of insulin for a higher revenue. According to The American Medical Association, which hosted a study in 2016, the price of insulin has tripled between 2002 and 2013. With the price and rate of receiving a diagnosis rising, diabetes is soon to become a multimillion-dollar industry.  

Texan News contacted four insurance companies that offer policies that cover insulin to their customers (which include college students). All four refused to answer questions or leave a statement about the increasing price of insulin.  

College students who live with this disease tend to struggle with balancing the financial burden that diabetes has to offer. In some situations, these students may have to choose between their life or education. Diabetics must pay the price of these drugs due to insulin being a “necessity drug” to a diabetic, meaning that a diabetic cannot live longer than 24 hours without it.  

Morgan Burke, a sophomore at Tarleton State University who has had Type 1 Diabetes for 16 years, knows this scenario all too well.  

“This disease has taken a huge financial toll on me and my family. If it weren’t for my family helping me with the cost of insulin, I wouldn’t be able to pay for school.”   

Type 1 Diabetes is a growing disease with a cost that grows alongside it. This condition is manageable at the right price, but it is a price that could cost a student his/her education. As the next semester rolls around and textbooks are being purchased, consider the amount of insulin that was just bought. The cost of a life could be the cost of a textbook.

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