LEESBURG, Va. – A 27-year-old died after switching to over-the-counter insulin because he couldn't afford insurance copays for his prescribed insulin.
Josh Wilkerson, who had Type 1 diabetes, had aged out of his stepfather's health insurance plan and was unable to pay $1,200 a month while making only $16.50 per hour working at a dog kennel.
Wilkerson's doctor told him about an over-the-counter insulin that was available for a much cheaper cost, reports People.
“We figured: Hey, it’s $25. We can do that. And we’ll just work with it and try to do the best we can,” said Wilkerson's fiancé Rose Walters.
The insulin sold at places like Walmart takes longer to regulate blood sugar levels.
According to Walters, Josh began having stomach problems and mood swings from high blood sugar levels.
Four months before the wedding, when Walters didn't hear from Wilkerson while he was working overnight, she rushed to the kennel and found him unconscious.
Wilkerson had suffered several strokes after taking a dose of the cheaper insulin. He had also fallen into a coma with a blood sugar level 17 times higher than normal.
Josh died five days later when he was taken off life support.
The Washington Post reports prices for prescription insulin has tripled since 2002 and many patients cannot afford the vital medicine.