For Americans with diabetes living close to the border allows easy access into Canada to pick up their insulin prescriptions.
Canadian pharmacies such as Shoppers and Walmart provide diabetes medication for one-tenth of what the cost in the United States.
Insulin For All is an advocacy group which organizes frequent trips from Minnesota to Ontario for diabetics looking to get their drugs.
One of the organizers, Quinn Nystrom paid $30 per insulin vial for the same medication under a different name instead of $320 US back home.
Travelers might expect issues at the border on return where border patrol would ask for prescriptions and confiscate their drugs – but this rarely ever happens.
In fact, many border patrol agents understand the issue with the skyrocketing prices of insulin the US and how travelers need their medication to stay alive.
Sadly, even with the help of insurance companies in the US, insulin prices are still much higher than their neighbors to the north.
3 reasons why insulin prices more expensive in the US?
This is a widely debated question which unfortunately has several complicated answers.
1. 3 companies control 90% of the insulin market. Novo Nordisk, Sanofi and Eli Lilly and dominate 90% of the global insulin market. In some countries there may be alternative insulin producers which help drive the prices down. Unfortunately, with no competition in the US, prices are set high with little motivation to decrease the costs.
2. Patent Evergreening is achieved by extending the lifetime of their patents which are about to expire. This prevents generic companies looking to product a drug allowing the current insulin monopoly to continue. Companies such as Sanofi, who are the makers of Lantus, have filed 74 patent applications which could mean a competition-free monopoly for another 37 years.
3. Companies such as Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi generate billion of dollars yearly. It should be no surprise that drug companies and politicians are in bed. Drug companies spend billions lobbying politicians to allow them to continue business as usual with their current prices. In fact, the secretary of Health and Human Services was an Eli Lilly executive in the past.
COVID-19 affects Americans trying to buy insulin from Canada
A vial of insulin can last a week or a month depending on the amount a user takes.
As previously mentioned, many cross the Canadian border for cheaper insulin prices.
With the Canadian government halting travel from the US and the already high costs of insulin, many Americans are finding themselves financially affected and now having to ration their medication.
There are many setting up fundraisers on GoFundMe to pay for their insulin.
While COVID-19 has taken thousands of lives, sadly and to no surprise, many are dying from not getting their life-saving medication on time.
Save the trip and money by ordering insulin online
Just as ecommerce has seen a resurgence since the beginning of the pandemic, many Americans are now ordering their insulin online.
With the US-Canada border closures, pharmaceutical websites such as Buy Canadian Insulin allows Americans to easily & securely order insuli