Congress

San Gabriel Patients Pay More for Diabetes Treatment, Study Shows

A new report says that some residents pay up to 23 times more for their treatment.

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NBC 5

What to Know

  • A report says diabetics in the San Gabriel Valley are paying up to 23 times more for drugs to treat their disease than in other countries.
  • Insulin can cost $655 up to a month for those who do not have health insurance.
  • According to report by Congress, more than 30 million people suffer from diabetes worldwide, and one-in-four of those suffering are elderly.

A new report form the House of Representatives suggests that patients with diabetes in the San Gabriel Valley are paying up to 23 times more for drugs to treat their disease than in other countries.

Jackson Blair is only 10 years old and has suffered from Type 1 diabetes for the past six years. His grandmother, Yvette Llerena, told Telemundo 52 that buying insulin for her grandchild gets more expensive each day.

"Many people have to pay $5,000 for a little insulin," Llerena said.

An injection is one of the most common medications to control diabetes, and it can cost $655 up to a month for those who do not have health insurance.

"If the cost of insulin continues to rise, many people will not be able to buy insulin and that can have devastating effects," added Llerena.

Members of the House of Representatives revealed a study by the Congressional Oversight and Reform Committee, which points out that residents of the San Gabriel Valley pay 23 times more for insulin medications than patients from other countries.

"This is only in the United States because Canada has lower prices, Mexico and other countries too, but they do not let us import these products," said District 32 Rep. Graciela Napolitano.

The report says that prices could be between $7 and $11 per month if there were rules to regulate pharmaceutical companies.

A 2013 study from the University of California Los Angeles found that the highest rates of diabetes cases are in two of the poorest communities in the county: Compton and East Los Angeles.

According to Dr. Brian Johnston of the White Memorial Hospital, 60 percent of patients who are admitted to this hospital suffer from diabetes, and a large majority end up with amputations.

"Young people who are obese are the most likely," Dr. Johnson added.

According to report by Congress, more than 30 million people suffer from diabetes worldwide, and one-in-four of those suffering are elderly. There are low cost options, however, at some local county clinics.

"The Roybal Clinic in East Los Angeles and the Hudson and Humphrey Clinics in Downtown Los Angeles," Johnson said.

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