Living with type 1 diabetes is a full time job; a full time job that doesn't provide a paycheck. Even worse, having a chronic illness such as type 1 diabetes oftentimes makes it extremely difficult to work full time or to even secure a job that offers insurance. The scary fact is a lot of people who actually need insurance don't get it (because they are constantly denied coverage) and living with type 1 diabetes is very expensive.

As noted on the American Diabetes Association website, "People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of about $13,700 per year, of which about $7,900 is attributed to diabetes. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes."

Our brilliant co-founder Erin Williams came up with a list of resources for you to use if you are struggling to pay for your prescriptions. There are a couple of ways to begin this process; you can connect with a Patient Assistance Program or work with a doctor to contact one of the drug companies directly. Either process will take a little time, a little paperwork but it's worth it to make sure you get the medications you deserve without going in to debt!

Patient Assistance Programs

There is help available for type 1 diabetics who can't afford their supplies and prescriptions. These programs, frequently called Patient Assistance Programs (or PAPs for short), are designed to help those in need obtain their medicines at little to no cost.
  • This is a great article that explains how PAPs work:
    "Pharmaceutical Companies Helping Patients Get Their Medicines"
    by Richard J. Sagall, M.D. (article located here and here)

  • If you need help finding a Patient Assistance Program, or you're just not quite sure where to begin looking, we recommend visiting RxAssist to help get the ball rolling.

  • NeedyMeds is a 501(c)(3) non-profit information resource (co-founded by Richard J. Sagall, M.D.) devoted to helping people in need find assistance programs to help them afford their medications and costs related to health care.

  • Islets of Hope offers a list of assistance programs by state as well as a few international resources. Islets of Hope also offers a free (and very helpful) PDF on assistance programs for people with diabetes.

Directly Contacting the Drug Companies

Sometimes going straight to the drug companies can yield positive results. Below are a few such companies that offer medication assistance to those in need of financial help.
  • Lilly TruAssist is a collection of Patient Assistance Programs offered by Lilly to assist in getting you the medications you need if you're struggling through financial hardship without prescription drug coverage. For type 1 diabetics, their Lilly Cares program would most often be the ideal fit, but age and use of Medicare can also play a role in choosing the right program. As stated on their website, for those living in the United States, "If you qualify for Lilly Cares, your Lilly medicines will be provided free of charge to you for a year and will be shipped to your health care provider's office for pick up."

  • Sanofi Aventis Patient Assistance Connection

  • Apidra No Co-Pay Savings Card

Other Very Helpful Organizations

  • Insulin Pumpers is the largest nonprofit organization serving the needs of diabetic insulin pump users world-wide. They are almost exclusively run by dedicated volunteers and offer financial assistance through their Insulin Pumpers Foundation program.

  • Affordable Insulin Project -- When you do not have prescription insurance, or you have a plan with a high copay or high deductible, affordable access to insulin can seem beyond your reach. Fortunately, there are several programs that can assist those who need insulin, either through discount, copay, or patient assistance programs. The Affordable Insulin Project offers tools, resources and data so that people impacted by today's rising health care costs can positively influence the affordable access to this life essential drug.

Ask Your Doctors

Besides contacting the drug companies for free medicines you can also ask your doctors for samples. Often times the doctors build relationships with the drug reps that come see them and the drug reps give them free samples to hand out to their patients. If you form a good relationship with your doctor, there may be ways your doctor could talk to the rep to get more samples. Most of the time doctors end up throwing them out because they go bad so it is worth it to talk to your doctor to see if they have any on hand or to give your doctor the heads-up so that the next time a rep comes in they can know what to ask for.

By following these simple steps and advice you can save yourself some extra money and time!

PS - If you haven't figured it out already, WIN stands for "when in need."  =)


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