For diabetics, modern insulin therapy has been a godsend. New drugs have eliminated the weight gain associated with diabetes, and modern delivery devices have eliminated the need for daily sugar level tests. However, these new methods come at a high cost, and not everyone can afford modern insulin therapy. There is no generic version of insulin, either, which puts uninsured diabetics at greater risk of harm.
Mary Boyle, a nurse practitioner at the Mayo Clinic, has recently developed an alternative insulin therapy using older drugs for patients whose insurance doesn’t cover the high cost of modern care. However, Boyle’s alternative is complicated and relies upon older drugs with associated with known health defects. While the solution does work, it requires significant monitoring by both patient and a team of doctors. Additionally, most patients who can’t afford current insulin therapy suffer from a range of other health issues that also require a high level of monitoring.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place
Balancing these older drugs can require a concerted effort between different doctors, including a cardiologist and endocrinologist. It may well be that the cost of consulting all of these doctors exceeds the cost of the far safer new insulin therapies. In addition, a higher level of complication compounds the risk of error, which could very well affect both length and quality of life with a chronic disease like diabetes.
On the other hand, without these more cost-effective solutions, uninsured and indigent patients risk going without their medication altogether. Patients must choose whether or not to risk taking a medication that might harm them, versus doing nothing at all, and doctors must weigh whether or not the risks are so great that the patient will suffer more in trying to help him or her.
While this alternative may offer hope to those who can’t afford modern insulin therapy, it certainly isn’t the best solution. When public systems like Medicare and Medicaid fail to provide a standard of care to the public, it is time to reevaluate their overall effectiveness. Managing diabetes ineffectively can lead to a variety of health problems, including organ damage, Charcot foot, nerve damage and even amputation. If your doctor has failed to properly manage your diabetes and you have suffered as a result, please contact us for a free consultation.