A politician is believed to be a servant of the public. However, not many politicians are able to pass legislation that truly helps people like James Talarico, a representative of Texas. The politician is currently doing everything he can to make a life-saving drug more affordable for his constituents.
Earlier in May, Talarico, 31, managed to pass legislation limiting insulin’s price to $50 per month. Insulin is an essential drug for patients suffering from type-1 diabetes. However, recently, the drug’s price was too high for many to afford.
James Talarico Has A Personal Reason
Talarico’s inspirational legislation is not just to please his voters. Rather, the objective has a more personal reason.
3 years ago, Talarico said that he had almost died after doctors told him he had type 1 diabetes. On Twitter, he talked about what he experienced back then.
WE DID IT!! We capped the out-of-pocket cost of insulin in Texas!
— James Talarico (@jamestalarico) May 24, 2021
In 2018 May, Talarico was 28, healthy, and trying to get into the House of Texas. He used to hike the Big Bend annually so he was not worried about walking 25 miles. One day, he had set out to walk his district’s entire length and arrange town halls during the walk.
However, near the halfway point, he began feeling fatigued and nauseous. And then he started vomiting. His first assumption was that it was because of dehydration. So Talarico changed his clothes, and drank water, but kept walking. He would vomit another four times during the ending 12 miles, however, he managed to finish the walk.
That night, when he went to sleep, he woke up 36 hours later. He was rushed to the hospital by his parents. There his level of glucose in the blood was found to be 900, where the normal level is under 100. Doctors immediately told him he had type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes Can Happen To Anyone
Diabetes type 1 has unknown causes and can happen to anyone at any point in life. However, it is typically diagnosed under the age of 40. Unlike diabetes type 2, patients suffering from diabetes type 1 have to take insulin injections since it is no longer produced by their pancreas.
For James Talarico, his condition was precarious – namely, DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis). If no insulin is injected immediately, he would fall into a coma and die. He had to spend 5 days in an ICU. Today, he has to take insulin shots every day and closely monitor his glucose levels at all times.
But there was an even bigger shock waiting for the politician. He had health insurance but he still had to pay $684 for his first months’ worth of insulin. As a legislator, the state’s health insurance covers the cost. However, he wants every Texan to have the same access.
After experiencing the essential nature of insulin first-hand, he also found out that during the last 2 decades, the price of insulin has increased 1200%. Surprisingly, the cost of manufacturing them has remained comparatively constant.
Talarico pointed out that a big reason behind this price hike is the monopoly between Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, and Eli Lilly over the worldwide insulin market worth $27Bn. Since there is no generic choice available as well as no competition, these three companies are free to do all they can to keep hiking the cost of insulin.
However, the legislation by Talarico will limit insulin’s out-of-pocket cost to only $50 for a month. Moreover, the AG is also required to look into the rising prices. The bill made Texas the largest state to introduce a limit on insulin prices. All parties supported the effort.