Lewiston woman testifies on Capitol Hill about struggle to afford insulin


    Michelle Dehetre, Lewiston, testified in front of Senate Aging Committee, chaired by Maine Senator Susan Collins <p>{/p}

    WASHINGTON (WGME) - A Lewiston woman, who has type 1 diabetes, is in Washington, D.C., talking about her struggle to afford insulin.

    Michelle Dehetre testified on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

    Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is the chair of the Aging Committee and invited Dehetre to share her story.

    [Related: Maine families struggle with soaring cost of insulin]

    Dehetre said even though she works full time and has insurance, she pays about $300 a month for insulin and supplies and can't afford a glucose monitor or insulin pump.

    "Treating my diabetes is a matter of life and death. I can't afford the treatment I need. Paramedics end up visiting me 2-4 times a month. I require two types of insulin to live - a long-acting and a short-acting," Dehetre said.

    She tried an older, lower cost insulin available at Walmart for $25, but said it didn't work as well.

    "It's the same insulin I started using in 1985, but as I have grown older my blood sugars have gotten more and more unpredictable even when I eat the same thing. So the older insulin did not work well," she said.

    [Related: Diabetics turn to non-prescription Walmart insulin as drug prices continue to spike]

    Sen. Collins said lowering the soaring costs of prescription drugs is a priority.

    "These therapies are becoming out of reach for those who need them most. Prescription drugs don't work for those who can't afford to take them," Sen. Collins said during the hearing.

    Sen. Collins introduced the Biologic Patent Transparency Act this week to stop patent strategies that block new drugs from coming to the market.

    The hearing in the Aging Committee continues on Thursday as the committee looks at potential policy solutions to address rising drug prices.

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