WELLNESS & FITNESS

Dangers Of Black Market Drugs: 27-Year-Old Diabetic Groom Dies After Taking Cheap Insulin To Save Up For His Wedding

Date August 12, 2019 15:16

Insulin therapy is often an important part of diabetes treatment. It plays a key role in managing your blood sugar and preventing diabetes complications.

The importance of insulin in diabetes

Yet, a surprisingly large number of people with diabetes are using less insulin than prescribed or opting for cheaper insulin options because of the rising cost of the drug.

Dangers Of Black Market Drugs: 27-Year-Old Diabetic Groom Dies After Taking Cheap Insulin To Save Up For His WeddingDangers Of Black Market Drugs: 27-Year-Old Diabetic Groom Dies After Taking Cheap Insulin To Save Up For His WeddingSyda Productions / Shutterstock.com

People, in fact, are putting themselves in danger of serious, long-term complications, including kidney failure, blindness, lower-limb amputations and sometimes even death.

Josh Wilkerson's story

Josh Wilkerson, 27, died in the midst of a diabetic coma in June after the cheaper insulin he switched to months earlier failed him.

Josh and his fiancé, Rose Walters, needed to save money.

They were planning a wedding, and Wilkerson, a type 1 diabetic had aged out of his stepfather’s private health insurance.

Like many Americans, Josh simply couldn't afford to pay nearly $1,200 for insulin a month, the price of which has tripled since 2001.

He asked his doctor about other insulin options and was told about a lower-grade insulin that was more affordable and available at Walmart, ReliOn.

But the older form of insulin didn't keep Josh's blood sugar under control.

Known as “human insulin,” ReliOn requires more time to become effective than the “analogue” insulin that Wilkerson had previously been taking.

Black market insulin

Although most patients understand that buying prescription drugs from strangers can be dangerous they simply feel desperate and don't have another option.

Dangers Of Black Market Drugs: 27-Year-Old Diabetic Groom Dies After Taking Cheap Insulin To Save Up For His WeddingDangers Of Black Market Drugs: 27-Year-Old Diabetic Groom Dies After Taking Cheap Insulin To Save Up For His Weddingonair / Shutterstock.com

For instance, if insulin isn't stored (or shipped) at the right temperature, it breaks down and you risk getting into a high blood sugar situation after you take a dose of the improperly stored medicine, explained Dr Kowalski.

Heart-breaking stories like Josh's have taken center stage during the 2020 presidential race in the US.

Last month, the Trump administration announced it will create a way for Americans to legally import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada.

We all hope that the government and scientist will do their best to make diabetes medicine affordable so people don't have to turn to alternative sources.


This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.