My responses to the Democratic Party’s online survey.
Having diabetes, I depend for my life on two medications: Lantus and Humalog, the former a long-acting insulin, the latter a fast-acting insulin. Without them, I would die rather quickly. Do I have a right to life, even though I must pay roughly $240 to $360 per month in order to live? Does my right to live outweigh the pharmaceutical companies’ right to profit? Or vice-versa? I know the arguments, at least some of them: How can we [pharmas] develop new medicines without generating profits—without profits generated from medicines, we cannot research new medicines from which to profit from which to research new medicines from which to profit—and so forth in a circular fashion. What I’d like to know is, at what point should pharma’s concern for profit bow to my concern to go on living another thirty, forty, fifty-plus years? If I were to run out of insulin tomorrow, the consequences would be purely destructive. Should no insulin be available in my hypothetical insulin shortage, the first thing that would happen would be that my blood-sugars would spike, and not come down to a healthy level. There would be no way for me to reduce my sugars without injecting insulin. A few days of this and I would constantly feel sick, lethargic, sluggish. My vision would blur. I would be drinking fluids continuously and continuously having to urinate. How soon I would begin to experience more severe symptoms I don’t know—though I probably should find out. What exactly happens to a diabetic whose symptoms go untreated, and more to the point, how long do these symptoms take to manifest? How much time would I have? Is this a matter of assigning a price to my life and limb, and then having to debate with myself what price I am willing to pay? Life or Death? Limb or Amputation? Kidneys or Dialysis?
HOW I FELT THE FIRST TIME I RECEIVED AN INSULIN SHOT.