Lower price for insulin in Canada

joyfulguy

There's a story today on local stations of our national radio how a group of people from Indiana came up to London, Ontario today or a few days ago to buy insulin.
The report was that one or several or (I think) all were able to buy it without prescription.
The report said that one of them bought a quantity that would have cost her $2,000 in Indiana for $243. and change at a local WM.
The lady telling about it said that they came here especially to pay tribute to Dr. Banting, who with Dr. Best, was the discoverer of insulin, and his home in London has been made into a memorial.
It is my understanding that he gave away the instructions without compensation, as it was greatly needed by many ... and still is. Too bad that a number of rascals are making major profits from that insulin, the formula for which I think that he gave away free.
There was a group in Indiana where they learned of the opportunity.
I'm going to www.cbc.ca to see whether I can find more info.
ole joyful

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pudgeder

In the US -- at least in my state, you don't have to have a RX to purchase insulin. However, If you have health insurance and want it to pay, you have to have an RX. Even then, what insurance will pay is many times just a fraction of what is charged.

The outrageous cost of insulin is a national disgrace. Big Pharma profiting is all that matters.

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Elmer J Fudd

joyfulguy, a high percentage of people in the US who have higher than entry level/minimum wage jobs have prescription drug coverage of some kind and usually wouldn't be concerned with retail prices.

I understand that the healthcare coverage in many (most?) Canadian provinces provides drug coverage ONLY to people who are hospitalized and no coverage to those who are not. If so, then retail prices for drugs would be much more relevant to the average Canadian than to the average American, who would only be concerned about their plan's co-pays and coverage. Since buying drugs in a foreign country would likely not be covered by most insurance plans, I'll bet that this person from Indiana has no insurance.

For uninsured folks here on the low end of the economic ladder, any medical expense can be a problem and for them we do need to do more. Drugs are cheap and many available without prescriptions in Mexico too, but as with buying from Canada, this too is hardly a solution for the population.

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joyfulguy

Check www.cbc.ca ask for "Radio one", then "London". The story is that there was a "caravan" of six people that came up last Sat. (June 22), with a picture of a youngish woman holding up a bag of products.

As I heard it on the radio ... that was the first that I saw of her (so that search provided me with additional info).

You've heard me say, before, that "It's a poor day ... in which one doesn't learn something"! Oh right - I heard the original story just this morning.

ole joyful ... thankful that diabetes isn't a problem - thus far ......




.

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Elmer J Fudd

Lazy reporting is at work here, jg. I say that for a few reasons:

1. Asking someone why they're doing something shouldn't be reported until verified and more learned from other unrelated sources. That wasn't apparently done.

2. How do 6 people looking to save money take a trip and constitute a "caravan"? Multiple cars? Not very economical

3. Another story I found, maybe a different incident, was reported by a Minneapolis TV station, saying that people were taking a 3 day trip from Minneapolis, stopping in Madison, WI, Chicago, and Lansing, MI enroute to London Ontario. Surely many of these people have a more direct destination to Canada that they could take that would have been less costly? Why not taken? Was something else afoot?


I thought the CBC had higher standards. There appears to be more to the story but nothing was mentioned. More selective Canadian schadenfreude concerning focused problems of the American health system? The adage about proper conduct for people living in glass houses may apply as your healthcare system has many though different problems of its own.


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joyfulguy

Those who are in hosp. prior to 65 get drugs free, I understand but not after they leave. Some carry insurance for such needs.

In recent years I've needed a couple of not costly prescriptions. It used to be that, as a senior, I paid part and the provincial health service paid part. About three or four years ago they had us seniors pay the first $100. per year, then the health service paid part.

Upwards of ten years ago, prior to an election in which the Liberal premier had promised, ," " ... no new taxes ..." ...

... after his party won, it appeared that our medical service was seriously underfunded ...

... so they instituted a "health levy" ...

... that's NOT a "TAX" you understand ...

... but we calculate it annually on our income tax return.

If one has been able to make use of the tax rules sufficiently to arrange to pay no provincial income tax, and to have a few credits to spare ... one writes "0", as the provincial income tax preparation is complete.

Oh, but ... there's the matter of that "health levy" yet to deal with!

It usually costs me about $450. - 600. per year ...

... BUT ...

... I have not one word of complaint to offer - regarding that cost (only the shenanigans regarding its title).

I've had varicose veins, 3 pairs of pressure socks still working in almost daily sequence after over 12 years, shots to shrink the veins, something over 11 years ago, that likely resulted in blood clots on the lungs, emerge. prescribed warfarin, that I've used for about 10 years. Thankful the clots didn't go to heart or head, as I feel that the lung episode left no ongoing restrictions.

Enlarged prostate, for which a ream job upcoming, and on catheter for over a year and a half.

Prostate cancer, 35 shots radiation over a couple of years ago, ongoing checking. Family doc recommended calcium, Vitamin D, iron, they are OTC, I pay for them, of course.

Thankful to have enjoyed good health through most of my life, I haven't carried supplemental health insurance.

I have received all of those medical services over a number of recent years at no cost to me.

I am exceedingly thankful for the Canadian and Ontario health service system.

This is my story of how thankful I am for the service which I have received, but I am not making any claim that our systems don't have major flaws.

ole joyfuelled


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joyfulguy

I heard some news on the radio yesterday that I thouht might be of interest to a number of my U.S. friends here at KT.

I also heard a bit about there may have been some people from Minnesota who came here but not enough to feel that I wanted to add it, found that seemed rather strange, and it wouldn't have added anything of value to my report.

Whether the word "caravan" originated with the people making the trip or the radio people, I have no idea - but I put it in quotation marks.

I have no idea whether it was the visitors or the radio people who initiated the interview, but it was similar to a number of general interest interviews that they do with people and issues in the area.

The only report of saving that I heard was of one person having paid just under $250. for a quantity that would have cost a couple of thou at home, and one can buy quite a lot of gas (in the U. S.), an oil change and maybe even a tire for less than the difference.

If the ground rules here are that I should do a lot of research to give a full report on such issues, it'll likely be a frosty Friday before I make such a report again, I think.

If any of you might be interested in such information later, if you send me your email address, I can send such ... (if I can remember/find it at the time).

ole joyful

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jemdandy

FYI: In the US, when a group of people travel together in more than one vehicle, they may call that a 'caravan'.

To the poster who questioned why someone in Minnesota would drive all the way to eastern Ontario to buy insulin when Minnesota borders with Canada. That might be due to location of the supply. Possibly, not every druggist in Canada may be set up to sell across the border, and then there is population density. The nearest large city north of Minnesota is Winnipeg, Manitoba. Canadian population at the north border of Minnesota is sparse. Cold weather may be a factor. Downtown parking spaces in Winnipeg are equipped with two meters. One is a regular parking meter and the other is an electric meter with and outlet for an engine block heater; That should tell you something about how cold it may get.

If a person lives in the SE corner of Minnesota, the distance to Windsor, Ontario is about the same as that to Winnipeg.

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laceyvail 6A, WV

I have full insurance and Medicare part D drug coverage, and the one med I take costs quite a lot of money. And another drug my doctor wanted me to try for another annoying but non threatening condition was so ridiculously expensive that I told the pharmacy to forget it. Part D company I had wouldn't cover it. Americans pay the highest drug costs in the world. And God forbid if you need many drugs or expensive ones for live threatening conditions. Drug insurance simply doesn't cover much because the overall cost of drugs is so out of control. People with diabetes are dying because they simply cannot afford the price of their insulin.


BTW, Medicare is forbidden to negotiate the price of drugs. The VA however, can and does.


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Lucille

OJ I am grateful for your report and will pass the info on to my older son who requires insulin to stay alive. I am shocked that there are idiots who would dis your report to us. People in the U.S. can and do die from inability to get insulin. OJ I am a fan of your posts and stories but I am especially grateful for this one.

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Debby

Epi-Pens are a LOT less expensive here as well, so if you live close enough to the border just see a doctor here and get a RX for one or two. A friends husband is on medication for depression. She told me what he pays for a months worth of pills. I checked to see what a full bottle of pills cost here (I work in a drugstore and can check the cost and retail on the computer), and whoa! What a difference! They would save so much money if they lived here.

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chisue

If I ordered from Canada, I could pay a fraction of my out-of-pocket prescription costs for one of my maintenance medications -- *with* my Part D insurance (which I am required to buy by Medicare, at a cost of $200/year).

Around 2000, Glaxo Smith Kline invented a dual-delivery system for two inexpensive drugs: Fluticasone propionate and Salmeterol xinafoate. They then bought the patent on one of the two and stopped separate manufacture of it. I could no longer buy two inhalers to use in tandem. I had to buy the GSK combo called Advair. Since they have no competition, and the US government has no price controls, they can charge whatever they want.

In Canada, I can buy the medications separately for about $60/month. Advair currently retails at a shade under $500/month. My Part D reduces that to $47/month until I hit the 'donut hole' mid-year, after which I pay nearly 50% of retail.

While I am not as dependent on this medication as a diabetic is on insulin, without it I would be housebound, on oxygen, with frequent hospitalizations for pneumonia, until my lungs failed completely.

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DawnInCal

Just after reading this thread, I saw this video on CNN.com and thought it might be of interest to some of you. I have not verified the accuracy of the report or done any further research. It was simply something that was timely and on topic to OJ's original post.


Buying Insulin in Canada


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Elmer J Fudd

"If the ground rules here are that I should do a lot of research to give a full report on such issues"

jg, there are no ground rules, say whatever you want anytime. I shared my reaction that it seemed to be rather sloppy reporting and potentially misleading because of missing factors.

Drug prices are a problem in the US just like medical care, we all know that. Why someone of lower economic means from Minneapolis needs to drive through 4 states to get to Canada I don't know and that was part of my comment. Thunder Bay Ontario seems to be half the distance as London Ontario. I suspect it was some kind of political event, which is fine, BUT that's not what was reported. My comment was about the reporting only.

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maifleur01

The medication in Advair is apparently now off label and sold by other companies. Still pricy but I just compared my 250/50 prices from this last order to last year. Last year was 1K+ the current before insurance from this last batch was just over $400.

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lgmd_gaz

Just for all of you to compare, my DH needs 2 different types of insulin. One vial of his fast acting insulin, according to the mail order pharmacy we must use, costs $766.00. The slow acting one is $256. Keep in mind that those prices are for just 1 vial, or a months supply, as it is recommended that a vial should be discarded 28 days after opening. Thank God we do have a pretty decent insurance which brings the cost to us for a 3 month, (that would be 3 vials) to just $85.00 for the fast acting and $24.00 for the long acting. I really feel sorry for those who have no or poor insurance.

Note Elmer, I could fill my gas tank up several times and still drive to Canada for my insulin and live to tell about it.

Edited to say that the cost for I vial of the long acting is wrong! I messed up. It should have been $466.00...still a lot of bucks. In 1990 I was buying it for my dog for less than $20.00

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maifleur01

One of the group that I have lunch with once a month was talking about driving to an out of the way pharmacy in Canada until it was pointed out there were others most closer. Pure speculation but someone in the group probably only knew of this one pharmacy and that was where they headed. Why the person in my group thought there was only one pharmacy in the whole of Canada was because that pharmacy was the only one that they had ever heard of.

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chisue

Elmer -- Part of the reason I posted about Advair was to illustrate that it isn't just someone "of lower economic means" (or without insurance) who is gouged by Big Pharma for a maintenance medication. Advair involved no new research -- just a sneak play monopoly on one of two cheaply made existing ingredients. It's been profiting GKS, unchanged, for nearly 20 years.

I'm gouged twice: By GKS and the medical insurance industry, with the permission, nay, *collaboration* of my federal government.

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Elmer J Fudd

Yes, chisue, no doubt. There are a lot of problems with our system and it causes major grief and sacrifice for too many. The last phrase of your comment is where the problems are both caused and could potentially be fixed, the federal government. So long as there is such a large percentage of Americans who think things are fine and no action is either needed nor appropriate (the dreaded S word McConnell and his ilk like to use as akin to being a risk as great as the medieval Black Death) nothing will change. I expect to see no change in my lifetime but would be delighted if there were.

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chisue

Elmer -- I think we are 'on the same page' here.

Also, as I understand it, *because* Big Pharma can price gouge in the US, it can charge less in other First World countries. Canada might be sorry if Americans ever got government controls on our medications!

I see Trump wants *pricing* information included on drug ads. How about prohibiting ads for prescription drugs...like other First World nations?

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Elmer J Fudd

Same page, I think so.


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