Insulin is a 100-year-old drug whose wholesale price has tripled in ten years. The reasons why explain everything wrong with America’s broken prescription drug market.
On June 22, 2017, Alec Raeshawn Smith, a recently promoted restaurant manager with Type 1 diabetes, left his local pharmacy empty-handed. He’d gone in to pick up a month’s worth of insulin supplies, which he assumed would set him back around $1000—the amount he and his mother Nicole Smith-Holt had budgeted the month before when he turned 26 and, under Obamacare rules, had to drop off her insurance coverage.
For Alec, that price was already steep: Even with his promotion, he was making $35,000 a year with no benefits.
He couldn't afford it.
So he left. He never told his mother and he never told his girlfriend. Five days later, he was dead.