Making pharma pay attention: RightCare and #insulin4all DC rally

The situation is dire for insulin-dependent people in America. “We just don’t have a safety net in this country that guarantees us access to insulin, and without that, we’re days away from dying,” said Hannah Crabtree, #insulin4all activist and Right Care DC member who has Type 1 diabetes. 

Without restrictions or regulations, drug companies have raised the prices of insulin to whatever the market will bear, increasing over 1000% since 1996. But this is more than patients can bear, as we have seen from the deaths of at least three young people last year.

On Sunday, about 40 patients, clinicians, and activists from the Right Care Alliance and #insulin4all united to protest the high prices of insulin and stand in solidarity with those who are affected by out-of-control insulin prices. Crabtree and other attendees were quoted in an article about the rally in Medscape.  

Participants held up portraits of people with Type 1 diabetes, three of whom died last year because they could not afford the insulin they needed to stay alive. They told the stories of Alec Raeshawn Smith, Shane Patrick Boyle, Antavia Lee-Worsham, and many more. 

The rally also featured #insulin4all activists and clinicians in the Right Care Alliance telling their stories of how they (and their patients) are affected by insulin prices. “If you care about what is best for your patients, your role as a patient advocate does not end at the door of your hospital or clinic,” said Dr. Maia Dorsett, an Emergency Department physician from Rochester, NY. 

Insulin manufacturers Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi responded to the event in Medscape, saying that we all need to work together for change, and mentioning their support programs.

But Dr. Vikas Saini, co-chair of the Right Care Alliance, isn’t buying it. “There’s this finger-pointing game. The pharmaceutical companies point to the pharmacy benefit managers, and the pharmacy benefit managers point to the pharmaceutical companies and insurance plans. Everybody is pointing at each other, and the reality is that prices keep going up,” he said.

You can watch the whole rally on video on our Facebook Page