Nicole Smith-Holt is petitioning for lower prescription drug prices.
As THV11 reports, Smith-Holt’s son, Alec, was a diabetic and used insulin to keep his blood sugar levels under control.
Around the time of Alec’s 26 birthday, his parents grew worried:
“Usually birthdays are a happy time, but it was actually a time when I became very, very afraid for his life. I knew he couldn’t afford the options that were out there.”
During a speech she delivered on the Minnesota Capitol steps, Smith-Holt said:
“Last year our 26-year-old son passed away because he was rationing his insulin.”
After aging out of his parents insurance plan on June 1, 2017, Alec started rationing out his prescription because it would have cost him nearly $2,000 per month living with diabetes.
Smith-Holt’s fears were realized less than a month after he turned 26. Alec passed away of diabetic ketoacidosis 27 days after being kicked off his parents’ insurance plan:
“He was actually found dead in his apartment on June 27. So he lasted 27 days not being covered.”
And that is exactly why Smith-Holt will continue to fight in honor of her son, so that the millions of other people in need of insulin won’t face a similar fate.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 30.3 million people in the United States have diabetes. Of that 30 million, 1.25 million have Type 1 diabetes and the other 90 to 95 percent have Type 2.
Insulin helps diabetics control blood sugar levels when those levels cannot be controlled through oral medication, according to U.S. National Library of Medicine. Though the drug is almost 100 years old, there is no generic version of insulin.
Between 2002 and 2013, according to CBS News, the price of insulin more than tripled. Last year alone, the price of insulin from two manufacturers rose eight percent. Ninety-nine percent of the insulin market is controlled by three manufacturers.
For its part, Eli Lilly, one of the three main manufacturers of insulin, said lowering the price of insulin “will require leadership and cooperation across many stakeholders, including manufacturers, payers, and policymakers.”
Smith-Holt and her husband, James Holt, have promised to never give up fighting to lower the prices of prescription medication.
“I should be with my son. I should not have had to bury him at such a young age. No parent should have to bury their children.”
Holt said they will “keep fighting until we get this accomplished.”
Smith-Holt added: “We’re not giving up.”