Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
For months,maybe years, my husband Tim and I have been seeing signs plastered on utility poles that say “I will buy your Insulin Test Strips” around the neighborhood with a proliferation of them around the MetroHealth Campus.
Today, I finally thought to ask my Facebook friends to help me out with the reason why. Thanks to those friends and others I now know a bit more of the story behind the signs. It appears there is a black market for insulin test strips. Some diabetics may need to test 5 to 10 times a day to help them control the disease. It would be my supposition that some one needing to test that frequently may be what is called a “brittle” diabetic but may be not. According to my sources, it is not uncommon for these test strips to bring $1.00 a piece on the black market.
So, who sells these test strips on the black market? Apparently, many people do-relatives of people who have died, criminals who steal them from friends, neighbors and relatives who need them, and others who should use the test strips themselves but find the reselling of them too lucrative to pass up. Imagine my surprise to find out that this black market item is as lucrative as prescription pain medications.
There is a bit of misinformation out there that I believe needs to be cleared up-”Medicare and Medicaid patients can get all they can use for free”. I have a friend on Medicaid whose doctor requested that she get the number of test strips needed to enable her to test twice a day. Medicaid denied the request allowing her one a day. Now, Medicaid usually follows the lead of Medicare guidelines so although I do not KNOW what medicare allows or does not allow, I do know that not every Medicaid patient gets whatever amount they need and if I were a betting person I would probably bet that Medicare probably has strict guidelines as well.
I understand that Medical Mutual is a company that will ship strips, glucose tabs, and other testing stuff quarterly if you sign up for one of their programs and you dot the i’s and cross the t’s just so. I am sure other insurance companies have similar plans, but many of them, as some of my sources say, are very expensive. There is also the option of going to the company involved directly. Pharmaceutical Company Foundations will often supply prescriptions and supplies to people who do not qualify for other help in getting the medications they need.
But back to the issue at hand, the unsuitability of these signs on utility poles in my neighborhood. Kate Dupuis, an employee of the Stockyard, Clark-Fulton and Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office has declared war against the unsightliness of these signs as well as “Free Roofs”,”We Buy Houses Cash”, “Poor Credit, No Credit We Have Cars”. Take a photo of the sign, its location, the utility pole number if possible, and email it to Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is compiling a list to bring to the City so that action can be taken against the parties responsible. There is a fine for each sign posted. If we can multiplying the number to make the fine significant, action can and will be taken.
Somehow, a black market for test strips seems so wrong given the recent event of a 36 year old man dying because he was unable to buy insulin when needed because his prescription expired. http://www.wkyc.com/story/news/health/2015/02/11/emergency-insulin/23276399/ We live in a messed-up world, and it is up to us to change it.
Overused, but no less true . “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.