U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders joined a group of Americans on a bus ride from Detroit, Michigan to Windsor, Ont., on Sunday to purchase insulin at a Canadian pharmacy.
“Americans are paying $300 for insulin. In Canada they can purchase it for $30,”
Sanders said in a tweet that day. “We are going to end pharma’s greed.”
This vial of insulin costs just $6 to manufacture.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 28, 2019
At this pharmacy in Windsor, Ontario, it can be purchased for $32. Twenty minutes away, in Detroit, the same exact vial costs $340.
It is time for a government that works for the American people, not drug companies' profits. pic.twitter.com/Uo2T8GG54T
For individuals with type 1 diabetes, insulin is required to manage blood sugar. Their pancreas does not produce insulin, which is a hormone that helps the body control the level of glucose in the blood.
"It is an embarrassment for those of us who are Americans," Sanders told reporters on Sunday. "We love our Canadian neighbours and we thank them so much, but we shouldn't have to come to Canada."
This family was able to save $10,000 buying insulin for their son in Canada, where the exact same insulin is one-tenth the price.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 29, 2019
The profits the drug companies are making ripping off the American people is scandalous, it is outrageous and it has got to end. pic.twitter.com/Rew4ftIo0o
There have been several reports of Americans with type 1 diabetes dying because they were rationing insulin due to the high price tag that they were struggling to pay.
But the rise of Americans coming to Canada has also raised concerns about potential shortages Canadians would have to manage.
A collection of 15 groups representing health care professionals, hospitals and patients wrote a letter to Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor to warn of the potential risk of shortages at pharmacies.
“The Canadian medicine supply is not sufficient to support both Canadian and U.S. consumers,” the letter states. “The supply simply does not, and will not, exist within Canada to meet such demands.”
The group added that Canada’s health care system is set to serve Canadians and are “not equipped to support to the needs of a country 10 times its size.”
Canadians and Americans took to social media to discuss the recent trip to buy insulin in Windsor:
@JustinTrudeau #Americans taking our Insulin.— MamaT (@stfutayl) July 29, 2019
Why is the government allowing the Americans to come to Canada to buy up diabetic insulin? As reported on the news people are buying lots. One lady bought 26 bottles. At this rate there will be a shortage for Canadians.
I agree that the profit drug companies are making in this country is outrageous...off of the backs of sick people. But, not right to cause a shortage of Insulin in Canada either. Apparently, Bernie was asked not to do this.— Patrice (@patrice_noonan) July 29, 2019
People with Type 1 diabetes are rationing insulin. I forgot a dose one day last week and my glucose skyrocketed dangerously. I'm fine but could barely function that day. I can afford my life-sustaining medicine (barely) but worry greatly about people who can't. #Insulin4all https://t.co/ZNgKTiLljs— Amy Lynn Smith (@alswrite) July 29, 2019
It warms my heart to have seen such strong advocates yesterday. @QuinnNystrom @t1international #insulin4all @T1dchick_ @DiabetesMine and so many more people coming together and fighting for what's right. Life saving medicine SHOULD NOT be this hard to get.— Chris Scapinello (@chrisScapinello) July 29, 2019
Linda, we know our healthcare has to change. We know that going to Canada is NOT a long term solution. We, as a country have to make changes, but that takes time. We wish we can change our situation right now, but it’s more complex, we are advocating everyday! #insulin4all— Jillian Rippolone, T1DCHICK (@T1dchick_) July 29, 2019
So what do you think about Americans coming to Canada to buy insulin? Vote in the poll above and leave your comments below.