During Tuesday’s CNN Presidential debate, the high cost of insulin in the U.S. was invoked to represent a failing healthcare system. The burden of insulin pricing on families is a critical issue facing the United States (US). Unlikely just a few years ago, insulin came up no less than four times in Tuesdays debate, and twice during Wednesday’s. In what was perhaps the most emotional moment for people with diabetes, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) pointed to it in his closing remarks as a stunning example of the social and economic problems facing the U.S.
“Two days ago, I had a remarkable experience which should tell you everything you need to know about what’s going on in America,” the Senator said. “I took 15 people with diabetes from Detroit a few miles into Canada, and we bought insulin for one-tenth the price being charged by the crooks who run the pharmaceutical industry in America today.”
A few days ago, I took diabetics across the border to Canada to buy insulin.
There, it costs 1/10th the price that it does in the United States.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 31, 2019
In the audience was Quinn Nystrom, a Minnesota-based speaker and Insulin4All activist, who’d embarked on the bus trip from Detroit to Windsor alongside Sanders, other people with diabetes, and a cadre of press. The moment was a culmination of years of work by Insulin4All activists, T1International, and other unaffiliated patients and their families — a testament to the power of grassroots organizing.