Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

Alan Levine / Flickr

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders led a group of Americans on a bus ride from Detroit, Michigan to Windsor, Ontario last month to call attention to one of America's biggest health issues: the out of control cost of insulin.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 10% of Americans have diabetes and 7.4 million of them must take insulin to survive.


"Americans are paying $300 for insulin. In Canada they can purchase it for $30," Sanders said in a tweet. "We are going to end pharma's greed."

The increasing number of Americans going to Canada for cheaper insulin has caused alarm among some Canadians who fear there isn't enough of the drug to go around.

"There absolutely is some degree of risk," Barry Power, Director of Therapeutic Content with the Canadian Pharmacists Association, told The Huffington Post.

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"If you look at the disparity in the populations, a small percentage of Americans coming to Canada is a disproportionate increase for services and supplies that are earmarked for Canada," Power continued.

The price of insulin in America doubled between 2012 and 2016 when the average annual costs for users jumped from $2,864 to $5,705.

The major reason for the massive price discrepancy is because Canada has socialized medicine and its Patented Medicine Prices Review Board ensures the price of patented medicine sold in Canada is not excessive and is "comparable with prices in other countries."

The U.S. has a market-based system where pharmaceutical companies can manipulate patents to prevent cheaper, generic drugs from coming to market. They can also raise the price to whatever they want.

Medicare, the nation's largest buyer of prescription drugs, is actually barred from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies.

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"They are [raising prices] because they can," Jing Luo, a researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital, told Vox, "and it's scary because it happens in all kinds of different drugs and drug classes."

The effects of the rise of insulin costs means that one in four Americans who need the drug to survive are now skimping on their use of it because they don't have the money.

"It's an embarrassment for those of us who are Americans," Sanders said while exiting a pharmacy in Canada. "We love our Canadian neighbors and we thank them so much, but we should not have to come to Canada to get the medicine we need for our kids to stay alive, we can do that in America."

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Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

There's a difference between dieting and being healthy, and often times, overattention to what you consume can lead to disordered eating. Eating disorders are dangerous and can affect anyone, but they're especially concerning in adolescents. Which is why WW (formerly Weight Watchers) is facing intense criticism for its new app, Kurbo, targeted toward kids ages eight to 17.

The app uses a traffic light system to tell kids which foods are a "green light" and can be eaten as much as they want, which foods are a "yellow light" and should be consumed with caution, and which "red light" foods they should probably avoid.

It seems like a simple system to teach kids what's good for them and what's not, but it regulates kids' diets in an unhealthy way. Gaining weight is a normal, healthy part of child development. Putting on a few pounds means your body is doing what it's supposed to do. While the app classifies foods with too much fat or calories as "red," children need to consume some of these foods to develop their brain.

WW is calling the app "common sense." As Gary Foster, the chief science officer of WW, puts it, items in the red foods category "aren't foods that should be encouraged in kids' diets, but they also shouldn't be vilified or demonized, and there has to be a system that's simple and science-based that highlights that so everyone in the family can understand."

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via Ostdrossel / Instagram

Lisa is a lifelong bird enthusiast who goes by the name Ostdrossel on social media. A few years ago, the Germany native moved to Michigan and was fascinated by the new birds she encountered.

Upon arriving in the winter, she fell in love with the goldfinches, cardinals, and Blue Jays. Then in the spring, she was taken by the hummingbirds.

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via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

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The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

Inclusivity