Opinion

Walmart insulin is not an alternative to proper treatment

Now that people are finally speaking up about the unethical price gouging of insulin, people are becoming more aware of this crime against humanity.

This is a good thing, of course, but sometimes well-meaning but ill-informed people will chime in with, “But what about Walmart insulin?”

What about it?

It’s not a solution to the problem, for several reasons.

First of all, Walmart insulin is not the same as what diabetics are prescribed by their doctor. Everyone should be able to get the medication that they are prescribed, period.

Secondly, it’s outdated. “Walmart insulin” is human insulin, and diabetics have been using analog since the 1980s/’90s as the
standard of care.

Walmart insulin is created from a dated formula and does not function the same as Novolog or Humalog, the most common fastacting analog insulins prescribed.

When someone switches to human insulin, they’re often hit with random high and low blood sugars. Even if you go on a strict meal plan and eat at the same time every day (which is nearly impossible for anyone with adult responsibilities), it is still unpredictable.

If someone switches from their prescribed insulin to Walmart insulin, they should consult a doctor on how to deal with the random highs or lows and create a treatment plan to prevent as many as they can.

Additionally, it’s recommended they use a continue glucose monitor to get continuous glucose readings so they can deal with the high and low blood sugars. However, if someone can’t afford their prescribed insulin, they surely can’t afford a CGM or to be constantly seeing a doctor, which is as expensive or even more expensive than
the monthly cost of Novolog or Humalog (depending on your dosage).

They also wouldn’t be able to afford the hospital and possibly ambulance bill if they go into DKA or a low blood sugar-induced coma from unreliable insulin.

I’ve heard of people using Walmart insulin for their pets, and it works fine for dogs, but not for people. Humans should not be degraded into using an outdated medication that’s now only used for animals because they’re being exploited and can’t afford what they are supposed to.

Another problem is that people have died while using Walmart insulin as a replacement for the real deal, just as if they were rationing insulin or not taking it. It isn’t a safe or viable alternative.

Josh Wilkerson was a 27-year-old man from North Virginia who switched to Walmart insulin after aging off his parents’ insurance, according to The Washington Post.

He called his fiancé while working an overnight shift to pick up extra money. He said he felt ill and was going to take more insulin, and then suffered multiple strokes. When he went into a vegetative state, his blood sugar was 17 times a normal reading.

He was removed from a ventilator five days later.

In 2019, no doctor would ever prescribe Walmart insulin to a patient because it is outdated, ineffective and highly unsafe.

In the past, this type of insulin was the only option, but that’s not true anymore. Access to the medication that you are prescribed is a human right.

How many more people will have to die before someone takes action against pharmaceutical companies?

As many as 1 in 4 diabetics have had to ration insulin at some point due to finances. Countless people have died because of this.

The blood of every dead diabetic who would have lived had it not been for price gouged medications is on the hands of the pharmaceutical companies.

How many more people must suffer?

Maria Ranger

Reporter | Creative Writing | mcranger@svsu.edu
Maria Ranger

Categories: Opinion

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