Local diabetic speaks out after Eli Lilly announces generic insulin

We first shared with you Monday on First at 5 that drug maker Eli Lilly will soon offer a half-price version of its top-selling insulin Humalog. The move seemed like it'd be a win for the diabetic community. But as News 10 found out, there's still much more that needs done.

Posted: Mar 6, 2019 4:02 PM
Updated: Mar 6, 2019 7:03 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - We first shared with you Monday on First at 5 that drug maker Eli Lilly will soon offer a half-price version of its top-selling insulin Humalog.

The move seemed like it'd be a win for the diabetic community. But as News 10 found out, there's still much more that needs done.

That’s after talking with Terre Haute woman Alex Harvey. She lives with Type 1 Diabetes.

Although any break on a diabetic's wallet is a good thing, Harvey says the move by Eli Lilly is just a baby step in the right direction.

After hearing harsh words in a restaurant bathroom, Harvey feels the silent war against diabetics is raging on stronger than ever.

Harvey explains, "I heard an older lady talking about how she understands why pharmaceutical companies make it harder for people to get treatments that they need like chemotherapy and insulin, you know mental health medications and things because it needs to be erased from our genes. And to hear that in our day and age is absolutely heart-wrenching."

Besides hearing such a nasty comment from someone in the community, Harvey says it’s even harder to live with the realities of treating her diabetes. She says her and other diabetics are operating in a broken medical system that does little for them.

Harvey shares, "Having to fight so hard to have medications or ration, or us having to message each other back and forth, 'Hey do you have a test strip I can borrow? Hey, can I test my blood sugar? Hey, do you have some insulin?' That's not fair. Especially when you know these people work day in and day out."

That's despite a move by drug manufacturer Eli Lilly announcing insulin generic, Lispro. The drug rings in at $138 a vial, half the price of Lilly's top-selling insulin "Humalog."

Harvey says, "It's not conceivable to make, you know, a 5-pack that's still $200. I probably go through that in a week and a half. That's still probably $500-600 dollars a month at minimum and that's if you're still rationing out your insulin."

That's not even all of the cost. Harvey explains there are many other needs for people with diabetes like test strips, syringes, or insulin pump supplies. Harvey considers herself one of the "lucky ones" since she has state-issued insurance. But for those who don't have good insurance, she feels the medical industry needs to be attacked from all sides.

Harvey shares, "We are not profit for your big pharmaceutical companies. We're human beings. And this isn't some type of symptom treating medication. This is life-sustaining medicine. We have to have it to live."

Harvey says she would like to start a movement at least locally to raise awareness of the difficulties diabetics face. She says it’d be a dream to be able to offer resources to help diabetics that struggle to pay for the products they need.

She explains, "To be able to get these pharmaceutical companies to look at the diabetic community more seriously and finding a better program for people without insurance to be able to get the medication and as much medication as they need to be able to live a happy and fulfilling life."

If you would like to share your story with Harvey or are able to help start this grassroots movement, you can email her at: asheaharvey@yahoo.com.

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