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W.Va. group in search of affordable insulin returns from Canada

(KOLO)
Published: Dec. 9, 2019 at 11:10 PM EST
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It was a four-and-a-half-hour journey to a different country for life-saving medication.

A group took a day trip Sunday from Morgantown to Niagara Falls, Canada in search of affordable insulin.

Insulin north of the border can be as much as one-tenth of the cost it is in the U.S.

Maggie Reider's son is diabetic and went on the trip to see how easy it is to purchase the drug north of the border.

"Would I do it again? Absolutely," she said. "I'd do it every month if I had to."

She estimates her family can save hundreds of dollars a month by making the trip to Canada for the drug.

"The difference is significant enough that we took the four and a half hour trip."

No prescription is needed to purchase insulin here. Individuals can bring back up to a three-month supply.

The trip had been in the works for months.

Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer helped organize the trip with the group West Virginians for Affordable Insulin. She's working on legislation to limit co-pays for insulin in West Virginia.

Reider fears if regulations aren't put in place, the cost will keep rising.

The nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute estimates the cost of insulin in the U.S. nearly doubled between 2012 and 2016.

"You must have the stuff to stay alive," Reider said. "It's as important as oxygen to breathe. It's a life-saver. No one should have to spend five, six, or seven hundred dollars a month to stay alive."

Now that the group is back stateside, many hope to use the experience to educate diabetics on the options available to them and get the attention of other lawmakers to make them aware of skyrocketing costs.

As for Reider -- she is back with a message for her son, who's close to graduation. She's urging him there's no time to waste between leaving school and finding work.

"You've got to graduate and get good insurance that will cover it," Reider said. "There's no room for error with diabetics."

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