Walmart to Begin Selling Low-Cost Insulin, Further Proving American Healthcare System is Screwed
Well, folks, if it wasn't proven over the past 18 months by the Covid-19 pandemic, the murder hornets, and the heartbreaking shortage of Grape Nuts cereal, it seems we have somehow maneuvered our way onto the absolute worst timeline. The latest phenomenon reiterating this disturbing truth? Due to the fact that seemingly nobody can be f----- to regulate the price of life-saving drugs, superstore chain Walmart will soon begin selling low-cost insulin, a direct response to the nightmare that is the American healthcare system.
On Tuesday, the retailer announced that it would be working with pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk to sell its own in-house brand of analog insulin, to both children and adults who obtain a prescription, a partnership that Walmart says will help lower the cost of the drug by working in tandem with its manufacturer.
An extension of its existing ReliOn brand of diabetes products, the drugs will hit Walmart this week and Sam's Club later next month, and will go for approximately $73 per vial and roughly $86 per pre-filled insulin pen. While this may sound pricey, the alternatives are significantly more expensive. According to the executive vice president of health and wellness, Cheryl Pegus these prices will save patients up to $101 on vials and insulin and an eye-popping $250 on pre-filled pens, per CNBC.
“This price point, we hope, will improve and hopefully revolutionize the accessibility and affordability of insulin,” Pegus told reporters. “We know that many people with diabetes struggle to manage this chronic condition because of its financial burden."
While this inexpensive option may help several patients access life-saving medication, the reality is much more complex. Take for example, Dan Hart, a Philadelphia-based bartender who has had to use insulin sold at the superstore, which costs $26 per vial, instead of his brand of preferred insulin, which goes for roughly $1,500 per month. However this is more than an instance of Hart, who lost his job amid the Covid-19 pandemic having expensive taste – the health impacts between the two offerings are evidently so stark, his sister launched a GoFundMe to help him afford his medication.
“This Walmart insulin is not what I need to live a healthy diabetic life, it’s just a lifeline. I have definitely caused damage to my body because it’s hard to regulate my sugar with this insulin, but it keeps me alive,” Hart told The Guardian last October. “It’s really scary knowing that just to live day by day I always need insulin and companies are making profit over death. I try to not think about it, but there’s not one day I don’t.”
Sadly the latter isn't that uncommon. Throughout the past several years, stories of those with diabetes dying due to being unable to access their insulin have regularly made headlines, a gut-wrenching calling card for how desperately the American healthcare system needs reform.
More than 34 million Americans have diabetes, with roughly 1.5 million more diagnosed every year, CNBC noted.