Congressman Donald Norcross

Representing the 1st District of New Jersey
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Norcross & South Jersey Type 1 Diabetics Discuss the Skyrocketing Cost of Insulin

Aug 21, 2019
News Release

New CDC Report Confirms 18% of Working-Age Diabetics Are Rationing Drugs Because of High Costs

“Insulin rationing is a disturbing reflection of the state of our prescription drug cost crisis. We must act to save lives.”

HADDON TOWNSHIP, NJ – Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) held a roundtable discussion about the high cost of prescription drugs, including insulin, with South Jersey adults and youth living with Type 1 Diabetes.

The discussion follows the release of a new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirming that nearly 18% of working-age diabetics are rationing their medications.

“Americans are neglecting to take the prescription drugs that they need because the prices are too high. That’s a serious problem. Today, I heard from South Jersey families that are worried about what the soaring costs will mean for them in the future,” said Congressman Donald Norcross. “Unfortunately, insulin rationing is a disturbing reflection of the state of our prescription drug cost crisis. We must rein in prescription drug costs – and, to do that, I believe that we can and should be able to negotiate prices, make the pricing process more transparent, increase the availability of generics and continue to improve access to health insurance.”

He added: “Americans are dying because of skyrocketing drug prices – we must act to save lives.”

At Haddon Township Library, Norcross was joined by the Laufgraben family, Shiroff family, Clear family, Dr. Don Meltzer and Stephen Noon.

Click here to watch the roundtable discussion. Click here to view or download photos.

Below are excerpts from the event:­­

Hayley Shiroff, an 18-year-old with Type 1 Diabetes described a time when her family switched insurance providers. She said, “[A new insurance provider] refused to give me the same medication I had been on since it was too expensive. They gave me an off-brand of insulin instead and it didn’t work as well. My blood sugar was continuously rising and rising. We didn’t know what to do. When we switched back to the proper medication, it worked. They aren’t all equal.”

There have been similar stories in the news about young adults having to turn to cheaper forms of insulin. Some cases have resulted in fatalities.

Parents in South Jersey are concerned about how their children will pay for insulin when they are in their late twenties.

Hayley Shiroff’s mother, Lisa Shiroff, said: “We have [Hayley] on our insurance, and I’d like to keep it that way for the rest of time if possible.”

“One of my biggest fears is what my daughter will do after she turns 26 years old.  When she’s not on my insurance, will she have adequate insurance or even enough money to cover the co-pays?” asks Ross Laufgraben, advocacy chair, South Jersey JDRF and father of Morgan, a 16-year-old with Type 1 Diabetes.

Morgan Laufgraben’s mother, Jodi Laufgraben, said, “Today, [my daughter] is wearing her pump on her arm. I worry that if she goes for an interview and they see that she has a pre-existing condition that she could face some employment discrimination because someone is going to have to cover her very expensive pre-existing conditions.”

The South Jersey parents and adults spoke about budgeting for health care costs, the unpredictability of rising insulin prices and their reliance on their insurance provider covering needed insulin.

Dr. Don Meltzer, an adult with Type 1 Diabetes said, “These medications have been around for a long time, why the prices have gone up is beyond me.”

“I recently got married and this insulin is our biggest medical expense,” said Stephen Noon, an adult with Type 1 Diabetes. “You think about how else you could spend that money, like doing things in the house, saving for your child’s college or investing for future retirement. Annually, it really adds up.”

“I have two children that need insulin and we are fortunate we are able to get insulin because we have insurance,” said Donna Clear, a mother of two Type 1 Diabetics, Ryan and Emily Clear.

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Contact: Ally Kehoe, Communications Director