It seems incredible that in 2015, we have a campaign called “Insulin for all”. It’s more than 94 years since Banting and Best discovered and extracted insulin, and yet there are still swathes of the planet where it is very difficult to get this live saving product.
As most of the Diabetic Online Community is aware, T1 International has been running the campaign to raise awareness that many people don’t have easy access to Insulin, and that to stay alive they may have to ration what they have and eat as little as possible. As we all know, not eating doesn’t always help, especially when you consider the other hormones that play up with a sub-standard pancreas.
But while a lot of focus goes on African countries and warzones, how much attention is paid to the inequality in rich countries, where people simply can’t afford to buy insulin to stay alive? However you look at it, no-one should be denied access to live saving treatments when they are available.
While the campaign is admirable and very much needed, what I haven’t yet seen is any details of how this is being taken further.
Who is lobbying the governments to work with their poorest people to ensure that is an ongoing supply of insulin? Who is lobbying the Pharma companies to reduce the cost of their products? The first time I had to buy a pack of five Novorapid cartridges I was shocked that they cost £50. A huge amount of money as a 19 year old student. Fortunately I could pay it, but it meant that I had to decide what I wasn’t going to spend money on. And there are people around the world who have to make that decision every week or month.
£50 for five penfill cartridges. If you look at some countries in Africa as an example, the average salary is $300 per month. They may not all have health insurance. If you earned that and had to pay 1/4 of your monthly income for insulin, what would you do?
So #insulin4all is an incredibly important scheme and needs promoting. But it needs promoting not just amongst T1Ds, but also governments, non-Diabetics and pharma companies. And that’s our job as those in the know. Let’s sign up and support our fellow T1s around the globe in this.