A group of Americans hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, recently took a 300-mile “caravan” ride between four vehicles to cross the Canadian border. Their mission? To find cheaper prices for their diabetes medication.
As a result of their trek, the mission was definitely a successful one, and despite the 300-mile ride back home, the cheaper drug prices definitely made the trip worthwhile.
Quinn Nystrom, who was among the eight individuals who were part of the group, told ThinkProgress about their travels, and about how much cheaper the prescription drugs were in Canada compared to the United States.
“It was a black and white difference,” Nystrom said.
— Peter Ernest (@SomersetNews) May 11, 2019
As someone who is currently utilizing the health insurance exchanges within the Affordable Care Act in her home state, Nystrom said she usually pays $600 for two vials of insulin, or about $300 per vial. In Canada, she said she was able to buy 10 vials for $300 — or around $30 per vial.
The Food and Drug Administration warns against buying medicine from outside of the United States, even for those who are traveling abroad. “These medicines may present health risks and FDA cannot ensure the safety of medicine from these sources,” the FDA says on its website.
But because drug prices like insulin and so many others are on the rise in the United States, some patients have to take drastic measures, including going outside of the country in order to afford their life-saving medicines.
Americans pay among some of the highest prices from around the world for prescription drugs. Although it’s been an issue for many years, President Donald Trump made it a campaign promise of his in 2016 to lower prices. In February of this year, during his State of the Union address, he said that his administration had accomplished that goal somewhat.
“Already, as a result of my administration’s efforts, in 2018 drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years,” Trump said.
Fact-checkers said that claim was dubious, at best. HealthGap.org found that, especially for “monopoly protected medicines,” prices continued to go up. And an Associated Press fact check said that a “broader” measure looking at drug prices found that they are “still rising.”