diabetes, insulin prices, civica rx

The price of insulin is sky high.

The price of insulin has skyrocketed over the past decade. In fact, per-person spending on insulin, for those with employer-paid health insurance, doubled between 2012 and 2016. Today, the average list price for a vial of insulin for people without health insurance is $300 and some people need six per month. For those with insurance, the cost of the copay can vary from $30 to $50 per vial (though that could be much higher for people on a high-deductible health plan).

In Canada, a vial of insulin costs $37.99.

More than 8 million Americans with diabetes depend on insulin to survive. The high cost of the drug has forced one in every four people with diabetes to ration or skip doses.

The factors involved in drug pricing can be complicated but it’s pretty clear that the cost of insulin is on the rise because pharmaceutical companies are able to charge what they like. America has very relaxed policies on drug pricing, compared to the rest of the world, so companies take full advantage. “They are doing it 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 cost of insulin has put such a strain on American families that the Biden administration placed a $35 cap on the drug in its Build Back Better bill. However, that bill is currently on hold in the Senate.


The good news is that for some Americans with diabetes, relief from high insulin prices may soon be in sight.

Earlier this month, Civica Rx, a nonprofit generic drug maker backed by hospitals, insurers and philanthropies, announced that it plans to manufacture and sell insulin for a maximum of $30 a vial. The company hopes the drug will be available at pharmacies as early as 2024. Before it makes it to market it must be approved by the FDA and Civica Rx has to finish constructing its 140,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Virginia.

The company predicts its products could make up around 30% of the U.S. insulin market.

"That's actually a fairly fast development time for a product like this,” said Civica’s Allan Coukell. “For Civica as a nonprofit, we're going to manufacture these insulins and sell them for close for what it costs us to make them - without any huge markup.”

The company says there’s also a plan to prevent any retail markups.

“We'll actually have a transparent pricing policy where we say nobody should pay more than—for example, for a vial, $30—at the pharmacy counter. And we're going to say that right on the vial: 'this is the maximum price anybody should pay' so that there's no downstream markups that unfairly target the consumer,” Coukell said.

It’s obscene that in the richest country in the world people are getting gouged for a product they need to stay alive. The price of insulin is a life-or-death issue and Civica Rx should be commended for stepping up and doing the work to help people struggling with diabetes while we wait for the government to act.

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

Keep Reading Show less
Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

Keep Reading Show less

Sandy Hook school shooting survivors are growing up and telling us what they've experienced.

This story originally appeared on 12.15.21


Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.

You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.

And yet here you are, living through a horror few can fathom.

Keep Reading Show less