The problem arose when Doreen Rudolph’s daughter, Nicole, turned 26 last year. The grad school student was no longer covered under her parents’ insurance, which had been able to help them pay for the insulin she’s needed since she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 12. The insurance Nicole could afford for herself left her paying $1,310.87 for a 90-day supply, according to the GoFundMe page Doreen set up. This week, the reality of paying this much to keep her daughter alive made her break down in tears.
“I just bought 2 vials of insulin for my daughter cost me $524,” Rudolph wrote on Twitter. “With a discount card. All I could buy. I left the pharmacy and sat in my car and cried. I would never tell her this. I’ll tell her I was able to get from work because she knows I don’t have $.I have love and worry 24/7.”
The post hit a chord on Twitter, which has retweeted Rudoph’s lament almost 12,000 times and liked it almost 32,000 times. At this point, Nicole probably knows what her mother went through. But so do a lot of other people, who have responded to Doreen with questions, tips, and similar stories of how they’re struggling to pay for medications, with or without health insurance.
I just bought 2 vials of insulin for my daughter cost me $524. With a discount card.All I could buy.I left the pharmacy and sat in My car and cried. I would never tell her this. I’ll tell her I was able to get from work because she knows i don’t have $.I have love and worry 24/7
— Doreen Rudolph (@DoreenRudolph3) July 21, 2018
Buying the Humalog insulin with a discount card is cheaper than buying it through Nicole’s insurance, Doreen explained. Even with her job in the urology department at Stony Brook University in Long Island, she has few places to turn for assistance.
Some suggested she find a way to get the insulin in Canada or Mexico.
Do you live close to the Canadian boarder? 50$ to see the MD,get a RX. It will cost less far less to get your insulin here.
— Suzy Q (@tiredicunurse) July 21, 2018
Others shared information on organizations established to help chronically ill patients afford medication.
Doreen…if she's in school, perhaps the school can help. Dang, perhaps her elected officials, church, we even have an organization in Jacksonville could perhaps at least lead you somewhere.. It's called Volunteers in Medicine. PM me if I can help. Praying for y'all.
— Terry (@TerryLisaJam) July 22, 2018
I work in the mental health field and have several client's who have problems affording their meds. I found a nonprofit pharmacy online that might be able to help. You and others who are having problems. Can find them at https://t.co/BSIRzelMQz.
— Gloria Masoner (@Gloridaz) July 22, 2018
Many added to Rudolph’s complaint about the system.
“Outrageous pricing of insulin is holding the healthcare of patients for ransom,” wrote @RLamartini a doctor in Louisiana. “They are just asking for price controls as this level of greed is not acceptable in healthcare!”
In recent years, the price of several different types of insulin has risen exponentially — over 1,000 percent since 1996 for Humalog. This is despite the fact that there are multiple companies making the drug, which by economic logic should drive the price down. The high prices have made some with diabetes attempt to ration out their insulin, which has proved deadly in several tragic cases.
Earlier this year, the American Diabetes Association presented its recommendations on how to make insulin affordable to the U.S. Senate’s Special Committee on Aging. The ADA called for more transparency in the supply chain for the drug and lowering or removing patient cost-sharing for it, while increasing access to health care coverage for all people with diabetes.
Many replied to Rudolph to say how little they pay for their medications in other countries, which is not exactly helping her in the short-term but may prove inspirational for any activists working to change the American system.
I am an Australian and we have Medicare which covers all citizens. The cost of most items is around A$30. Apparently U.S. spends 4x more per person but covers only a fraction of the population. Republicans insist on taking away that too. SAD!
— mahinda jeronimus (@jero4949) July 22, 2018
This is what every American should be fighting 4, affordable or free health care 4 every citizen of r country. I know ppl who can afford them will say “why should I be paying for others”, but until it happens 2 their own family is when they’ll realize. Tho r govt r wasting💰too.
— Naz Mansilla (@4uzar) July 22, 2018
In the meantime, several people wrote to say they wanted to Venmo some cash to Rudolph to help her immediately, and someone in the thread found her GoFundMe page from a year ago and shared it.
Though Rudolph has not yet responded to Yahoo’s request for comment, she has returned to Twitter to express her gratitude for the outpouring of sympathy she’s received.
“I was just venting I’m overwhelmed with suggestions responses and kind words,” she wrote. “I really didn’t mean for this to get out of control. Has kept me on Twitter the whole day. Since I can’t figure out how to delete or make it stop. We will be fine thank you all.”
I was just venting I’m overwhelmed with suggestions responses and kind words . I really didn’t mean for this to get out of control. Has kept me on Twitter the whole day. Since I can’t figure out how to delete or make it stop. We will be fine thank you all . ❤️
— Doreen Rudolph (@DoreenRudolph3) July 22, 2018
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