Struggling to afford insulin

My little life saver

People who need insulin for their type 1 or type 2 diabetes are skimping on the shots because the drug has become so expensive.

A study this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that more than 25% of people with diabetes who rely on insulin for blood sugar control said they skipped required doses because they could not afford the medication. Among those aged 18 to 40 whom they surveyed, it was even worse: more than 32% said they cut back on their required shots to save money.

CBS News: High cost of insulin has many diabetics cutting back on insulin

Medical Express: One in four patients say they’ve skimped on insulin because of high cost

An editorial in the same issue noted that between 2007 and 2017, the average wholesale price of the most popular insulins in the US has more than tripled in price. Between 2010 and 2015, the monthly wholesale price of Humulin, the most popular insulin, rose to nearly $1100, up from $258 for the average patient, the editorial said.

“Skimping on insulin can be rapidly deadly in people whose bodies make none of their own and can result in a life-threatening metabolic disturbance,” said the editorial, headlined: When high prices mean needless death.

We have covered aspects of the soaring cost of insulin in news stories before (here and here).

Insulin is essential for people with type 1 diabetes, whose pancreas no longer makes the hormone. We, however, have guides, patients’ success stories, news stories and videos about how a well formulated low-carb diet can help people with the condition manage their blood sugar and safely reduce their need for insulin to the lowest required dose.

Among those with type 2 diabetes, about 20% need insulin to manage their high blood sugar. However, adopting a low-carb diet has enabled some type 2 diabetics to come off insulin completely, even after decades of dependence on the drug. Check out all of our many type 2 diabetes success stories and links, such as How to reverse type 2 diabetes.

Anne Mullens


Millions of people with diabetes won’t get the insulin they need

Some with diabetes resort to black market for affordable insulin



  1. Gloria W Grant
    I am retired and on a fixed income. My Dr place me on two types of insulins earlier this year. Between buying food and medicine paying bills I can't hardly afford anything else have to miss Dr. Appointment due to no transportation and money to pay my copays.please tell me there is help out there some where for me.
    Reply: #4
  2. C
    Follow the low carb diet here so you hopefully won't need diabetes medication anymore. Lots of people don't need it when they stop eating sugar and carbs
  3. 1 comment removed
  4. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor
    Gloria, as the previous person said, hopefully be incorporating keto/lchf, you will be able to come off those medications.
  5. Kathy
    I’m not diabetic but wish a lot of UK residents could read this article
    In the UK we have have the national health service which provides insulin and diabetic controlling drugs free to so many people or a small prescription charge.
    Maybe if the nation did not have access this so freely they may look at a alternative approach to managing this growing illness. Please note I am talking about type 2 diabetes brought on through lifestyle choice.
    The nhs is also on its knees trying to provide care!
    Reply: #6
  6. Gentiann
    Are you suggesting that people with type 2 diabetes are sick by their own fault ?
    Unfortunatly, it's a common opinion to blame the person.
    More likely, it's hormonal imbalance coupled with following the guidelines of a lowfat highcarb diet that is causing insuline resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes type 2. Not exactly their own lifestyle choice!
  7. Sue
    The US needs to address the fact that the pharmaceutical companies are gouging the public with their increasing price hikes. There needs to be control to stop this blatant practice and not crumble every time the companies threaten with “well we won’t be able to continue research to cure cancer, blah, blah, blah”. Our government continues to allow these companies to price gouge anyway they please.
    Insulin, epinephrine and many other drugs are old enough that they’re almost cheap as water to manufacture but the companies rework, repackage them and slap a huge price increase on them.
  8. Jonathan Christie
    Walmart sells NPH and Regular insulins for over the counter for $25 (no mail order). Since NPH is peaky, regulation is tougher than with Lantus - but low carb or keto diets lower insulin requirement and smaller doses mean smaller errors as Dr Bernstein taught us. So hi thee to a Walmart. To me (a long-time Type I), risking ketoacidosis by skipping shots makes as much sense as that drunk looking for his keys not where he lost them but rather under the street lamp because the light is better there.

Leave a reply

Reply to comment #0 by

Older posts