A diabetic dog kennel supervisor from Virginia passed away after using cheaper insulin in order to save money to pay for his upcoming wedding.
Per the New York Post, Josh Wilkerson died after using over-the-counter insulin that was recommended to him by his doctor. The Type 1 diabetic aged-out of his stepfather’s private health insurance, and was rationing money in order to afford his insulin. The drug he began using was purchased at Walmart for $25 a vial.
“Known as ‘human insulin,’ ReliOn requires more time to become effective than the ‘analogue’ insulin that Wilkerson had previously been taking…” the site reads. According to the report, Wilkerson was earning just $16.50 an hour.
His fiancee, who also suffers from Type 1 diabetes, also used the same insulin that killed her fiance in order for them to save up for their big day. Wilkerson suffered from stomach problems, mood swings and high blood sugar after taking the medication.
Wilkerson was found unconscious after working overnight at the kennel, and he reportedly suffered “multiple strokes and was in a diabetic coma, his blood sugar 17 times what’s considered normal.” He died five days later at the age of 27.
“This should never have happened!!” wrote his mother on her son’s fundraiser page. “Nobody should have to choose between paying bills & saving your life!!”
“His death illustrates the worst-case scenario for thousands of people living with diabetes in the US, the Independent reports,” the Post continues. “With analogue insulin prices nearly tripling since 2002, doctors have begun recommending the cheaper version as a stopgap — a strategy endorsed for ‘some patients’ by the American Diabetes Association.”