Wednesday November 20, 2019

Americans Arrive in Canada Seeking Affordable Prices for Insulin

Caravan to Canada trekked across the border in May for the same reason

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Americans, Canada, Insulin
Advocates from the United States exit a Canadian pharmacy after purchasing lower-cost insulin in London, Ontario, June 29, 2019. A self-declared "car. VOA

A self-declared “caravan” of Americans bused across the Canada-U.S. border on Saturday, seeking affordable prices for insulin and raising awareness of “the insulin price crisis” in the United States.

The group called Caravan to Canada started the journey from Minneapolis, Minn., on Friday and stopped at London, Ontario, on Saturday to purchase lifesaving type 1 diabetes medication at a pharmacy.

About 20 people made the trip, according to Nicole Smith-Holt, a member of the group. Smith-Holt said her 26-year-old son died in June 2017 because he was forced to ration costly insulin.

Caravan to Canada trekked across the border in May for the same reason, and Smith-Holt was on that trip, too. She said the previous group was smaller than this week’s group. Americans have gone to countries like Mexico and Canada for more affordable medications in the past and continue to do so, she added.

Americans, Canada, Insulin
U.S. residents get set to depart a Canadian pharmacy after purchasing lower-cost insulin in London, Ontario, June 29, 2019. VOA

‘Resurgence’ in visitors

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported in May that Canadian pharmacists have seen a “quiet resurgence” in Americans coming to Canada looking for cheaper pharmaceuticals.

Insulin prices in the United States nearly doubled to an average annual cost of $5,705 in 2016 from $2,864 in 2012, according to a study in January.

While not everyone purchased the same amount of insulin, Smith-Holt said most people were saving around $3,000 for three months’ worth of insulin, and as a whole the group was saving around $15,000 to $20,000.

Prescriptions for insulin are not required in Canadian pharmacies Smith-Holt said, but the caravan has them so they can prove to the border patrol they are not intending to resell them when returning to the United States.

T1International, a nonprofit that advocates for increased access to type 1 diabetes medication, has described the situation in U.S. as an insulin crisis. Quinn Nystrom, a leader of T1International’s Minnesota chapter, said on May via Twitter that the price of insulin in the United States per vial was $320, while in Canada the same medication under a different name was $30.

“We know that many people couldn’t make this trip because they cannot afford the costs associated with traveling to another country to buy insulin there,” Elizabeth Pfiester, executive director of T1International, said in a press release.

Banting House

Americans, Canada, Insulin
Smith-Holt said her 26-year-old son died in June 2017 because he was forced to ration costly insulin. Pixabay

An itinerary said the caravan planned to stop at the Banting House in London later in the day. The Banting House is where Canadian physician and scientist Frederick Banting, who discovered insulin, lived from 1920 to 1921, and the building is called the “birthplace of insulin,” according to the Banting House website.

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Smith-Holt said the group was not currently planning any future trips, but they could be organized in the near future depending on need. She hopes for long-term solutions in the United States like price caps, anti-gouging laws, patent reform and transparency from pharmaceutical companies. (VOA)

Next Story

Microsoft Pulls Plug On Its Cortana Mobile App For Android and iOS Devices

Microsoft is pulling the plug on its Cortana mobile app for both Android and iOS devices across several countries

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Microsoft is pulling the plug on its Cortana mobile app for both Android and iOS devices in several countries. Pixabay

Microsoft is pulling the plug on its Cortana mobile app for both Android and iOS devices in regions such as the UK, Canada, Australia and several other countries.

Beginning January 31, Microsoft will no longer support the digital assistant app in the above-mentioned countries, it said in three regional support notes.

When asked if the iOS and Android apps will also be shuttered in the US, a Microsoft spokesperson said that in addition to Britain, Australia and Canada, affected markets include China, Germany, India, Mexico and Spain, CNet reported on Saturday.

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Microsoft will no longer support the digital assistant app in some countries. Pixabay

Notably, the Cortana app is used to configure settings and update firmware for devices like Microsoft’s Surface Headphones.

Lists, reminders and other content created by way of the iOS or Android app will still be accessible via Cortana on Windows, the company said in its support page.

Also Read- Xiaomi Plans To Unveil All Smartphones Over $285 with 5G Support Soon

“Cortana is an integral part of our broader vision to bring the power of conversational computing and productivity to all our platforms and devices,” a Microsoft spokesperson was quoted as saying by CNet. (IANS)