By Veronica Marshall
“When he ended up getting discharged from the hospital, I was on my way over to the pharmacy, ‘Don’t worry babe, I’ll get your prescriptions filled!’ And I go over there and I was thinking $50, $100 maybe. No, it was thousands of dollars. So I stood there and I cried because I didn’t have an extra thousand dollars,” Naomi Burkland says. “A lady ended up giving me money. She handed me her money and said, ‘You need this more than I do.’ And so, I don’t know her name, and I tried to give it back – she would not take it back. I just want to say thank you. And I’ll never forget that. Ever.”
Burkland’s husband needs insulin to live after an illness wiped out his pancreas three years ago. But rising drug costs are forcing Burkland’s family to make tough decisions. “Between paying my premiums to have the insurance and the insulin out of pocket, I’m paying about $11,400 a year,” she says. “I love him, I want him to live, but I also need a roof over my children’s heads. So it gets to be very hard financially.”
Burkland’s family isn’t alone – more than 7-million Americans need insulin to live. But insulin prices have nearly tripled since 2002, causing some patients to go to extreme lengths to afford their medication.