July 31, 2020 Blogs

We shouldn’t have to crowdsource the medication that’s keeping us alive.

My name is Allison and I am a resident of Gaithersburg, Maryland. My journey with high drug prices began when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 15 years ago at just 8 years old.

I have always been fortunate enough to have a strong support system within the diabetes community. My childhood best friend was diagnosed just a year before I was. My high school had seven other people who lived with diabetes. When I went away to college at UC Davis, there were over 50 other people with type 1 diabetes. We supported and cared for one another. Living with type 1 diabetes is incredibly mentally draining, and I have always been thankful to have these folks to lean on.

The first time I realized that the drug pricing system in our country needed to change was in college. The other 50+ diabetics and I made a spreadsheet where we would share what supplies/medications we used. It was then that I learned: It was for when people ran out of insulin and needed to ask for help. 

There was more than one occasion where I have donated my extra insulin to people who were on their last vial. I could not believe that there would be any circumstance where anyone would have to reach out to their friends for help getting insulin. We shouldn’t have to crowdsource the medication that’s keeping us alive. 

Right now I am fortunate enough to still be on my parents’ insurance, where my insulin is very affordable. I continue to give extra insulin that I have to people in the diabetes community who need it. However, I am fearful as to what will happen when I turn 26 and age off of my parents’ insurance. That fear stems from stories about people who had resorted to rationing, like Alec Smith, and ended up passing away. Will I soon be the person asking people in the diabetes community to send me spare insulin so that I can stay alive? 

In the midst of a global pandemic, the call for change in drug prices is even more critical. For type one diabetics alone, our access to lifesaving drugs is under attack with drug companies attempting to block plans like the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act. It is time for the prescription drug pricing system in our country to make some monumental changes –– so no one ever has to worry about if they will be able to afford to live.


Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs.