We all know and understand that the cost of diabetes is getting cray-cray. Our Wednesday #DSMA Twitter Chat on September 21 got pretty deep into this discussion, and it wasn’t everything that was on the agenda to discuss that night, but it quickly became the single subject of the chat. Sometimes, important issues just take precedence.
Our frustrations lie in a lot of places: drug companies, device makers, insurance companies, “pharmacy benefit managers” (I think I will always have quotes around that term—they don’t deserve to be taken seriously), and even our government, who, as I’ve heard so many times, seems to be just “checking our box”, but not really doing as much as they can to help us.
So there’s a lot of blame to go around. What are the solutions?
I’m not sure I have the perfect answer to that. I know what I would like to see happen. Will what I would like to see happen… actually happen? It hasn’t yet, although it has in small ways. But I don’t know if I have the ultimate solution. Or the Next Great Idea. I also know that often, there is more than one way to reach a goal. But…
There have to be certain elements involved in a successful campaign to “Take Back our Diabetes”, to paraphrase certain U.S. political commentators. To me, those elements seem to be, in no certain order:
– A clear Demand (let’s stop calling it an Ask, okay? It’s time to start demanding what we want)
– Enough people willing to demand what we want. Hint: it’s a hell of a lot more than we have now.
– Enough people willing to keep demanding, especially when we get stonewalled. Let’s remember the next diagnosis, the next family living with diabetes. Even if we’ll never see our success, we can keep demanding so future generations won’t have to work so hard. We want them to have it better than we do. I want to always remember this.
– Lots and lots of new ideas. As I mentioned in the Twitter chat, more ideas increases our chances of coming up with great new ideas.
– Someone (hopefully, more than one someone) who is well connected and sympathetic to our cause. This could speed things up a lot.
That’s my list so far. I realize I’m not exactly the Einstein of social activism.
To be fair, there are companies providing assistance to people who need it… ALWAYS be sure to check the website for the drug or device you’re using (or interested in) to see if you might be able to qualify for a little help. Even insurance companies have resources to help deal with claims issues. Your state’s insurance commissioner can often be a great place to voice your concerns. All this can be hard sometimes (PWDs have enough to deal with already), but at least it’s something.
That said, it’s fairly clear that 1) We have major issues regarding diabetes affordability and access; and 2) Governments/Companies/Insurance/”PBMs” will need to be forced into action to help solve pricing and procurement problems. That will only happen when it becomes clear that this is a public health and safety issue for everyone living with diabetes and not living with diabetes, and it will only cease to be so when we get what we demand.
Feel free to fill in the blanks.
Hat tip to Meri at Our Diabetic Life for her inspiring posts last week.