Good Decisions for People With Diabetes?

“I’ve been taking insulin for 31 years.” People always gawk at me when I divulge this. “But you look so healthy,” they reply.

And then I always knock on wood and look skyward to give thanks. I don’t take any credit. I feel very lucky for many things: health insurance, my diabetes supplies, and a body that is still going strong after countless high and low blood sugars.

Several times, however, I’ve had to stop using the insulin I love and depend on because of decisions made by corporations and their marketing departments. I can remember insulin selling for $3 a bottle when I was first diagnosed. Today the newer insulins cost $75 a bottle—a whopping 25- fold increase in price.

Last month 66,000 people who used Lente and Ultralente were left with no other option but to switch to a new insulin. Pork NPH and Regular were also withdrawn. It scares me that a drug on which my life depends has been taken off the market. The decision to do so was made by people who wanted to make way for the newer insulins.

In our feature story (“And Then There Were Some”), diabetes experts admit that some of us will indeed suffer because of this decision. But most of them just throw up their hands and say nothing can be done. Do we cross our fingers and hope that these new insulins are as safe as the ones we’ve been using successfully for years?

One possible solution would be for a drug company to start (or re-start) producing these valuable human and pork insulins. If each patient purchases two bottles per month at $30 a bottle, that’s $3.6 million!

Or they could even charge us $60 a bottle, and we’d still love them for giving us the choice to use our old favorite insulin.

Do we have any takers?

Kris Freeman Skis for the Gold

The 2006 Winter Olympics are upon us, and this month in Torino, Italy, Kris Freeman is going for the gold in the cross-country skiing event. I had the pleasure of speaking with Kris recently. I am always filled with pride when a fellow diabetic becomes the master of his or her craft. Cross-country skiing is a particularly grueling sport, but Kris is at the top of his game. Don’t miss my interview with Kris (“Kris Freeman Skis forOlympic Gold in Italy”).

Sweet Valentine’s Day

With the holiday feasting and festivities over, maybe you thought you were safe from finding an abundance of chocolates everywhere you turn. And yet, Valentine’s Day is now upon us, the biggest day for chocolate sales and consumption of the year. Of course, we diabetics know that we can sample from the heart-shaped box (or steal a piece or two if giving one to our sweetie). This month, food editor Gerri French writes about sugar-free chocolate (“Sugar-Free Chocolates for Your Valentine: A Sweet Idea?”). Take a look at our chart for some sweet sugar-free chocolate ideas.

Have a great month!

Scott King
Type 1, 31 years (and counting)

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