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Mom opens up about daughter's death as report finds patients skip insulin due to high cost

Posted at 5:09 PM, Dec 03, 2018

A new report finds a growing number of people are skimping on their insulin, because they cannot afford it. Some people are even dying.

Antroinette Worsham’s daughter, Antavia, died at just 22 years old. Worsham says it’s because her daughter could not afford to pay for insulin to treat her diabetes.

“I miss her,” the grieving mother says. “She had her whole life ahead of her--22 years old--because she could not afford her medicine.”

Antavia had Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease where the body does not make enough insulin. To stretch out her supply, Worsham said her daughter started rationing her insulin and even used other family members’ insulin.

“When she’d go to the pharmacy, she’d would tell me the price of insulin was very high and she could not afford it,” Worsham recalls.

According to the American Diabetes Association, the average price of insulin nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013.

A new report released Monday by Yale researchers found 1 in 4 patients with diabetes reported skimping on the insulin because of the cost.

“Even in the groups of people earning $50,000 to $100,000, 40 percent of those people said they sometimes skimped on insulin or underused insulin,” says Elisabeth Rosenthal, a former physician and editor-in-chief for Kaiser Health News. “If you skimp on your insulin and your blood sugar is high, chronically, you’re vulnerable to really, really serious organ damage and premature death, so it’s quite concerning.”

The American Diabetes Association released a report earlier this year with similar findings, including that 27 percent of insulin users indicated rising prices has affected their purchase or use of insulin.

After her daughter’s death, Worsham started a nonprofit called T1 Diabetes Journey to educate others about the importance of diabetes, medication and maintenance, self-care, wellness and nutrition. 

“We have to do something about it now, otherwise more and more people are going to die because they cannot afford the insulin – and die at a very young age,” says Worsham.

Sen. Bernie Sanders highlighted the Worsham family’s tragedy on his Facebook page and says he plans to introduce legislation to bring down drug prices.