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Diabetes Positive Approach, Issue #1108-- Cope with Diabetes; Live Healthy
August 02, 2011

Welcome to this month's issue on where to get insulin if you can no longer afford it. What you should not do is to stop using it without letting your doctor know. Another topic in this issue is coping with emergency situations. While we have to expect the best we have to be to be prepared for the worst.

I cover a lot of issues in this newsletter but my main focus is to help the diabetics improve their lot. I don‘t know what tomorrow will bring but I do know who holds tomorrow so I approach it with confidence that everything will be all right.

In This Issue:

  • Don’t Stop Insulin Treatment; There are Options Out There
  • Must Reads Around the Web
  • How to Cope With an Emergency
  • A Success Quotation of the Month
  • Dessert Recipe
  • Some Humour
  • Q&A: "When Do I Test for Ketones and What Do I Do With the Results?"
Healthy Living, Healthy Life

Where To Get Insulin When You Can No Longer Afford It

Someone wrote to me to say he was going to stop using insulin because it is no longer affordable so I searched for different options and sent these to the person concerned. The trouble is that my email came back because it was undeliverable.

I decided to include the options in this newsletter just in case this person will be able to read it because it is important not to stop using insulin without letting the doctor know. There are many options; there may be two or three that are repeated but I know you will not mind that because we want to help other people as much as we can.

1. Lilly claims that it provides insulin free to those who cannot afford it. Many drug manufacturers will help with the cost of the drugs for those who cannot pay for them.   Contact Lilly and ask for assistance in getting insulin:

2. There are also free clinics and clinics that will bill according to your income. Also, see if you qualify for Medicaid, just the medical part.

3. Tell your doctor about your problem, many of them have lots of answers. They know that people get into hard times and know of places that will help with medications.

4. WalMart and other pharmacies have $4 generic scripts.

5. is a link to many free or discounted med programs.

6. Try writing a letter to the company that makes your insulin and other supplies. Many have free meds programs.

7. Walmart has insulin available without prescriptions and the R (short acting) is $19.99 and the N (long acting) is $24. That is cheap compared to $80 for Humalog and $50 for NPH Humalin insulin. Some get their meds at Walmart because they have the best prices and if you need meds between doctors’ appointments you won't have to get a prescription for it.

8. Most hospitals and/or cities have community outreach programs. It is sad but Walgreen's or any other pharmacy can deny giving out scripts for free.

9. Some local hospitals will give you a coupon to take to CVS for free meds. They will only help you out once in a 6 month period but it lets you buy time to figure out what needs to be done.

10. Talk to a social services representative (social worker). For those who are truly in need, there are programs in place to help them get the medication they need.

11. Contact your doctor, a free clinic, a hospital, or social services all of whom will be able to assist you in getting different kinds of benefits.

12. In many states if you dial 311 you will reach an operator who can help you find government assistance.

13. You can also google medical help in your city or philanthropy in your city to find charities for help.

14. Or try the United Way or Salvation Army.

15. Some government programs will pay for medications, like State Medicaid, but you have to qualify by not having a job and not having any money.

16. Some Pharma companies have programs for people with low income to get free or near-free medications. Talk to your doctor so you can be referred.

17. How are low income people supposed to afford insulin? (not the pump)? Medicare or Medicaid? The programs are different in how medications are covered.

18. Speak to someone who actually knows something. (1-800-diabetes) is the American Diabetes Association. They should be able to help.

19. Your family doctor, especially if he has a lot of diabetic patients, will offer samples of your insulin. Someone actually had to do something like that for about a year when he was unemployed. Just call the office, and say that your insurance doesn't cover it, and that you need free samples if possible.

20. Also, if you go to, they have a program that you can enrol in. They will send you information.

21. Or do an internet search to find a free clinic in your area that will help. They're around, just not well advertised.

22. Call local health department to ask about other kinds of assistance.

23. Many pharmaceutical companies offer to help people who can't afford their medications. It's worth checking whether they'll help with insulin too.

24. Go to a Board of Health clinic or to a county hospital where almost all of their meds are free.

25. Someone got hers for half the price from Canada Pharmacy (online). They sent it from Europe though so you have to wait three weeks for delivery.

26. There is also a program I found online  that sends the insulin for nearly free to your doctor to dispense. You have to fill out forms stating your need and the doctor has to sign too.

27. Your doctor should have samples in his office. They are given to the doctors by drug representatives to help patients who can not afford their medications.  Someone gets his insulin from his diabetic doctor. Talk to your doctor and tell him you can't afford your insulin. If he doesn't have any on hand he should be able to tell you where to go to get help with your meds.

28. Most everywhere there are clinics for low income people that can help get you free medications. Look in the phone book, or call your local hospital for information.

29. There is PPA ( Partnership for Prescription Drugs ). They will either give them to you free or at a very low cost depending on your income. Phone 1-888-477-2669.

30. Call the drug company that makes your insulin (name and phone number should be on your insulin vial), and explain your problem. Sometimes they will get your information and will send you free medication through the mail or will send you a voucher to take to your pharmacy for a three month supply.

I don't know what type of insulin you take, but Wal-Mart has certain types in the Reli On Brand, which is much cheaper than some of the other insulins. They also have the Reli On insulin syringes, which is a lot cheaper than others.

31. You also might want to contact The American Diabetes Association., if all these other suggestions fail.

32. Sanofi Aventis offers several patient assistance programs to help those who cannot afford to purchase Lantus, whether they are uninsured or under-insured.[6] Qualified recipients may receive free insulin for up to a year. Additional information is available from the Sanofi Aventis toll-free hotline at 800-221-4025.

33. NOVO NORDISK, INC. Patient Assistance Program Patient assistance programs (PAPs) are programs created by drug companies, such as NOVO NORDISK, INC., to offer free or low cost drugs to individuals who are unable to pay for their medication.  These Programs may also be called indigent drug programs, charitable drug programs or medication assistance programs.  Most of the best known and most prescribed drugs can be found in these programs.  All of the major drug companies have patient assistance programs, although every company has different eligibility and application requirements.

The NOVO NORDISK, INC. patient assistance program offers free medication to people who otherwise cannot afford their medications. Patients must meet financial and other program specific criteria to be eligible for assistance.

To find out how to apply for medication assistance from the NOVO NORDISK, INC. patient assistance program, visit our Patient Center  ( and use our Database to search for the medication needed.

In connection with pumping insulin, here’s The fourth edition of PUMPING INSULIN that has been updated to reflect the many positive advancements in insulin pump therapy.

This book is the BIBLE for Insulin Pump therapy. John Walsh, a pump user, and a Physician's Assistant and Certified Diabetes educator, offers invaluable advice and steps for finding your correct insulin basal rates and bolus/carb ratios. Very valuable steps are offered for fine-tuning your basals and boluses too.

For those considering the pump as a management strategy, PUMPING INSULIN helps you to determine whether the pump is right for you. Pumping Insulin: Everything You Need For Success On A Smart Insulin Pump

2.Must-Reads from Around the Web

Surgeons Pioneer New Ways to Treat Diabetes

Breakthrough Discovery

Beyond Metformin:When Are Doctors Intensifying DiabetesTreatment?

Patient-Centered Medical Homes Improve Diabetes Care

3.How to Cope With an Emergency

An emergency can occur anytime and one has to be prepared for it. First, know why it happens and when it can happen. It can happen when one forgets to take insulin, the insulin receptors are not working or food consumption is higher, or due to a sickness or some stress.

That is why it is wise to check the urine for ketones if the blood glucose is over 240 mg/dL because it can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA which can cause death or coma. Immediate medical help is necessary when this happens.

In the other side of the scale is hypoglycemia which can happen when the blood sugar gets too low. If the symptoms are not too bad, it can still be treated at home with glucose tablets, drinking regular soda or orange juice but some whose blood sugar tends to go down very low and fast will have to carry glucagon along with glucose tablets.

Glucagon is an injection that can be self-administered. It stimulates the liver to send sugar into the blood and in fifteen minutes, the blood sugar gets up to a satisfactory level. It is good to treat hypoglycemia because if not treated it can lead to coma or death. Here are some tips on how to cope with an emergency situation:

  • Make a list of places where you may need emergency supplies like at home, the work place, school or anywhere else you go.
  • Your workplace or school should have an emergency plan. Make sure you know this plan. You should have an emergency supply kit containing all the diabetes supplies you need both at school or at work.
  • The diabetes supplies you may need are extra insulin and syringes, extra test strips and glucose meter, supplies for insulin pump and extra batteries for the pump and the glucose meter, ketone test strips and alcohol wipes, a glucagon kit and glucose tablets or gel. Make sure you have a way to store the insulin and keep it cool when the power goes off. There are coolers or a reusable FRIO insulin cooling wallet (set in motion by water) that will keep the insulin cool for two days.
  • Snacks in the form of sugar tablets, lifesavers and candy should be there ready to avoid a hypoglycemic emergency.
  • Carry a bag/backpack with your diabetes supplies. Have it ready by the door so you can grab it as you leave home.
  • Did you get to work and realized that you forgot your insulin? Despite your best effort you still forgot your insulin at home. Find out from the employer if you can leave extra insulin in the fridge.
  • Having a backup plan when you forget to bring your insulin or you are unable to use what you have for some reason, go to a drugstore and have the pharmacist to call your doctor to prescribe you one. Insulin strengths in the US are U - 100 while in the other countries it may come in U - 40 or U - 80 strength. Buy new syringes also as your old ones may not mass the new insulin. Ask for local help in the area you are visiting.
  • What to include in your emergency kit? Well, you should have a list of all your current prescriptions and their dosages. If you use the insulin pump, make sure you put in the kit the card with the current basal rates, correction factors and the insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio just in case the pump stops working.
  • Check, refill, restock the supplies once a year. Ensure that your medications have not expired.
  • Put your kit in a protected area but have a to-go-bag just in case you will be asked to leave in a hurry.
  • Wear a diabetes medical ID bracelet or necklace so if you suffer from hypoglycemia and unable to talk, people will understand when they see you‘re wearing a diabetes bracelet. Otherwise they may just think you one drink too many.
  • Wear a diabetes medical ID bracelet or necklace so if you suffer from hypoglycemia and unable to talk, people will understand when they see you‘re wearing a diabetes bracelet. Otherwise they may just think you one drink too many.
  • Have at least a supply of necessities for three days for you and your pets.
  • You should also have an emergency kit for home and car like non-perishable food, water, prescription medications and diabetes supplies, first-aid supplies and personal care items like flashlights, blankets, cell phones, and extra batteries.
Get ready now before a real emergency may happen. It is best to follow the Boys’ Scout motto of be prepared. You can cope with any emergency situations if you have all the supplies you need. You will survive the emergency and keep healthy as well.

Use the following symptoms as guidelines. You will be able to beat the arrival of either hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.


  • Extreme thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Rapid or deep breathing
  • Fruity smell in the breath
  • Loss of consciousness

  • Headache and double vision
  • Weakness or trembling
  • Confusion and sleepiness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Convulsions or unconsciousness
Before going to the last symptom, act as soon as you can. They are only guides so listen to what your body needs. If you feel something wrong is coming and you are feeling sick, call the doctor very quick. After treating hypoglycemia with a fruit juice and the symptoms are still severe, call 911 or the nearest hospital’s emergency unit.

4. A Success Quotation of the Month

"The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skilful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests." Epictetus

5. And here’s the dessert recipe we promised you.

Grilled Angel Food Cake

6. Let's laugh together at this joke even if it's not funny. Laughing will help get us healthy.

Boy and Girl

Boy: Hi, you know my father’s name is Laughing.

Girl: Oh? How about your mom, what’s her name?

Boy: You wouldn’t believe this but my mother’s name is Smiling.

Girl: Really? You Must Be Kidding!

Boy: No, that’s my sister’s name. I’m Joking.

7. Do you have a question or comment for the team?

Drop us a line at our contact form and write your questions or comment there.

You may see your question answered in an upcoming issue of Diabetes Positive Approach like this one below.

7. Question: "When Do I Test for Ketones and What Do I Do With the Results?"

Answer: It is recommended to test for ketones when the blood sugar level is higher than normal. Use a home testing kit to check for ketones. If the result of the test is positive, it could mean the body is already making changes that could lead to ketoacidosis. When this is the case, you need your doctor to help you lower the blood sugar level safely.

If the result of the test shows no ketones, you may be able to treat hyperglycemia by yourself. How? Take the medication as directed by the doctor and ask him or her to adjust the timing of the medication and/or the dosage. Another way is to eat less and do not drink sweet beverages. Ask the dietician or the doctor for help if you are having difficulty on this. In addition, you can exercise because this can lower the blood sugar level but if there are ketones in the urine, it could drive the blood sugar higher.

7. Got something to say? Please write down your questions and comments in the contact form in our website.

Just go to the contact form and write your questions there.

Thank you for being a subscriber of Diabetes Positive Approach, ! I know how frustrating it is when we eat healthy, exercise and do everything else right and still can’t get what we want. I know there must be something else we could turn to. And using the secret has been offered to us. All I know is that had I known about this secret before, my progress in this game of life would have been faster and better.

Warm Regards,

Roger and Evelyn Guzman

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Go to Symptoms-of-Diabetes Home Page for the Disclaimer.

Did you miss the following back issues of this newsletter? Here are two of them:
Diabetes Positive Approach Newsletter 805

Diabetes Positive Approach Newsletter 806

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