‘Why did it take so long?’ Local diabetics react to insulin price drop

Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 3:15 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Hattie Saltzman remembers the year insulin cost $500 a month.

She rationed insulin and broke the law to stay alive. She still landed in the emergency room.

“It was one of the worst days of my life,” Saltzman said. “I hope I never go through that again.”

Hattie went public about the year that almost killed her. Help came through heartbreak when a young woman at her church died and her family graciously donated insulin to Hattie. Hattie received five vials.

“I cannot describe how it feels to pick up an insulin vial that has somebody else’s name on it when you know that person is no longer around,” she said.

Hattie’s insurance copays later improved and she helped others.

Her point was always the same: Diabetics shouldn’t live like this.

Now, she’s learned that Eli Lilly will slash prices. There will be a $35 cap for many patients. Also, the drug manufacturer will lower prices by 70% of the most common brands of insulin.

“It was well past time but I really didn’t expect this, I guess, to ever actually happen,” Saltzman said. “It kind of feels like I’m dreaming. So, I think I’m still just so shocked. This kind of takes some pressure off of me.”

Hattie said she still questions why some medications are so expensive. She also pointed out Eli Lilly is just one of three major manufacturers. She’s hoping the caps will spread so that all who need insulin will have affordable medication.

We asked Hattie what she’d like to say to the decision makers at Eli Lilly.

“I feel like the correct answer is, ‘Thank you,’” she said. “But, part of me is asking, ‘Why did it take so long and how do we trust that this doesn’t happen again?’”

More information: Lilly plans to slash some insulin prices, expand cost cap