The husband’s first flight since COVID began was truly memorable. Read on.
Today is World Diabetes Day, the day recognized around the world by a United Nations’ resolution. And this year marks the 100-year celebration of insulin, it was discovered in 1921. You may know it was discovered by Canadian surgeon and medical scientist, Frederick Banting and Charles Best. You may not know Banting and Best sold the patent for insulin to the University of Toronto for US $1.00 – so that no one would ever have to go without insulin.
Well, we know how that worked out. The last time I walked into a pharmacy to ask how much insulin would cost if I didn’t have insurance, I learned three insulin pens cost $750.
I do have insurance, I have Medicare. Still, the one box of Tresiba pens (five come in a box) that I got a few months ago cost me almost $500 because I had not reached my deductible. That’s $100 per pen. I was told after reaching my deductible, a box would cost around $225. That’s still $45 a pen – with insurance. Plus if you’re on Medicare you cannot take advantage of pharmaceutical patient assistance programs.
Last Wednesday, the husband took his first flight since COVID. Of all places, he went to Toronto, to facilitate a leadership workshop. Having insulin on the brain, I researched how he could purchase insulin for me, while in Canada, knowing it would be cheaper there than here.
I reached out to a few friends and colleagues, they then widened the circle of comrades, and I read numerous articles online. This was a great story. In Canada you don’t need a script to purchase insulin.
From what I learned, it is legal to order insulin from a Canadian pharmacy and have it shipped to you in the States, but it is illegal to buy it there and bring it home. Grrrr… However, all I talked to who have done it, and each article I read (like the one above) said, if the TSA finds the insulin, they won’t arrest you and they won’t take it away from you. Okay, non-risk-takers that we are, we decided to gamble on this.
The husband’s client for whom he went to Canada is actually in the business of making medicines, so the Chief Medical Officer put the husband in touch with his local pharmacist (thank you, thank you). Yes, the husband could get two boxes of Tresiba from them and they would deliver it to his hotel on ice. For free.
Those two boxes, each with five pens, cost US $218 total. That’s $21.80 a pen! With no insurance! The husband went through US customs on the Canadian side with one box in his vest and one in his carry-on. Both items went through the X-ray machine with no alarms being set off and no police appearing with cuffs. The husband collected his vest and carry-on and walked briskly to the gate whisking his little charges to freedom.
Of course my two lovely boxes of Tresiba, posing above, were the first thing out of his bag when he walked into the house Friday night. Still, my mind keeps twirling this unbelievable fact/feat around, just like when your tongue can’t stop running over something stuck in between your teeth.
Insulin has always been my drug of choice, but now I have a new dealer, Canada. Thank you Banting, thank you Best, thank you Toronto. Should the husband need to go back again, I might just go with him to thank the nation myself for their sanctity for life – and of course to get some more insulin.
Note of appreciation to Elizabeth, James, Allie, Karlynn, Chris, Michael, Ahmad and, of course, the husband