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'It's over $600 a month' | Tulsan talks insulin prices amid lawsuit

Posted at 9:28 PM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 10:22:26-04

TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma announced a plan to sue drug manufacturers in an attempt to lower the price of insulin.

The suit says 25% of diabetic Oklahomans can’t afford their insulin. As a result, they ration doses.

Megan Quickle, who lives with Type 1 Diabetes, feels the pinch of those high prices, “currently, with the insulin I take, Lyumjev. It’s a little over $600 a month.”

Her insurance does not cover that brand, so she pays the $600 out of pocket for one month of medicine.

It’s a steep mark-up, as the Yale School of Medicine reports it costs just $2-4 to produce one vial. The cost doesn’t include the fringe costs of equipment needed to actually use the insulin. The State calls insulin the “poster child” of price gouging.

“People with diabetes make an extra 600 decisions a day,” Quickle said.

For several Oklahomans, financial decisions are part of those 600 choices. They have no other choice.

“Almost everything affects your blood sugar,” Quickle said, “People assume sugar, or carbs, everything from hormones to sunshine to heat to extreme weather.”

Government leaders attempted other measures before this lawsuit.

In 2021, Gov. Stitt signed a law, capping the insurance co-pay for insulin at $30 per month. President Biden is currently pushing for federal regulations too. Quickle is hopeful, but hesitant.

“It feels like we’re taking one step forward and two steps back,” Quickle said, “We feel like we’re getting somewhere, and we feel like our legislators are hearing us and that people will stop dying because they don’t have access to insulin.”

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