High insulin prices may not be the only concern for diabetics

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - High insulin prices have been a continuous problem, but there may be something more concerning.

In a recent report, more than 40 million diabetics worldwide could be without insulin in 2030.

The South Dakota Department of Health says there's 54,000 people in the state diagnosed with diabetes. That disease is also the 7th leading cause of death in the state.

Endocrinologist, Dr. John Palmer, says "so for patients with type one diabetes, the only treatment is insulin and so that truly is the only thing that we can use to manage their disease. A fair number of patients with type two diabetes also get to a point in their disease where they to need insulin. And really insulin is the only therapeutics that works for them."

Dr. Palmer says while we shouldn't ignore this article, it does make assumptions.

"Several of those assumptions are that we are going to continue to see the linear growth of diabetes, primarily because of the obesity epidemic," explains Palmer.

Palmer does not think this is a sound the alarm moment, but rather a wakeup call.

"So certainly something that we as a medical community as well as governments need to address to make certain that there's not a shortage of this obviously life sustaining and absolutely necessary medication," states Palmer.

Dr. Palmer says biggest concern at this time is the price of insulin.

"If you really look at the price of insulin in the last 10 years it's nearly gone up three fold. So I think a bigger issue in 2018 for the patients I see is just actually getting the insulin in their hands because of the price,” explains Palmer. “So if patients are struggling to afford their medication, they are having a difficult time obtaining insulin, making sure you're talking to your doctor to see if there are any programs available."

Palmer says there is patient assistance programs through the various pharmaceutical company's and you can see if there is any coupon card available through the manufacturer.