KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- A KCTV5 News special report is getting worldwide attention with more than a million views on Facebook alone.
We are hearing from diabetics across the United States, Canada, Europe and people in South Africa and Australia.
They are reacting to a local University of Missouri-Kansas City college student who opened up about her year from hell.
The price of insulin has skyrocketed, and what some diabetics do to get the medicine they need is simply heartbreaking and awful.
Hattie Saltzman ended up in the emergency room when she couldn’t afford her insulin. Her copay was $550 every month.
“I wasn’t expecting it. I mean I knew were all these people that had same issues as me but it was shocking to see all these people coming out,” Saltzman said.
In her original report, Saltzman revealed how she broke the law to stay alive by using her father’s insulin. But, real help came through heartbreak. A fellow church member died, and Hattie was given that girl’s insulin.
“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,” Saltzman said.
This year, Saltzman's copay is just $25 so she is helping another church member who is 12 years old and has a high deductible and rotten copay.
The idea is now catching on.
Saltzman has been receiving messages from all over the world where people are asking how they can help others too.
“I finally had to make my own Facebook group I could direct them too,” Saltzman said.
Saltzman is proud of that new Facebook group, but she wants people to know generosity has limits and true change is needed.
“You need to write your congressman. You need to make sure that the people you are voting into office know what is important to you. We need to put the pressure on them so they can put the pressure on pharmaceutical companies because that’s the only way change is going to occur,” Saltzman said.
Eli Lilly is one of the makers of insulin, the brand Hattie uses.
KCTV5 reached out to the company to ask why insulin is so expensive. The company send the following response:
The out-of-pocket costs that people pay for insulin have gone up for several reasons including insurance designs – such as high deductible plans that require people to pay thousands of dollars before coverage is triggered.
We opened the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center to help people who pay the highest prices find customized solutions. The solution center is staffed with health care professionals, such as nurses and pharmacists, who will help people find the best solutions based upon their personal circumstances.
Saltzman doesn’t buy that statement. In fact, she’s headed to Indianapolis along with other diabetics to protest outside the headquarters.
“It needs to feel uncomfortable for them, they need to feel the pressure. It needs to feel like we are lighting a fire on them because that’s what we are doing. I want them to know I’m mad I want them to look out the window and see a bunch of type one diabetics and supports and the lives they are impacting in such negative ways,” Saltzman said.
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