When Josh turned 26, he aged out of his stepdad's health insurance. As a result, he was no longer able to afford his $1,200 insulin each month for his type 1 diabetes. The price was too high for Josh, who made $16.50-an-hour working as a supervisor at a dog kennel.
So, Josh started rationing his expensive insulin. Last winter, a doctor recommended that he try ReliOn insulin, which is $25 at Walmart. But soon after switching over, Josh began having high blood sugar, stomach problems, and mood swings.
On June 10, John slept above the dog kennel while his boss was on vacation so that he could earn some extra money. Before going to bed, he FaceTimed his fiancée Rose Walters, 27, and complained about his stomach hurting. When she called in the morning and he didn't answer, she rushed over and found him unconscious.
"We figured: Hey, it’s $25. We can do that, and we’ll just work with it and try to do the best we can," Rose told the Washington Post.
Josh had experienced multiple strokes and was in a diabetic coma. At the hospital, doctors found that his blood sugar was 17 times higher than it should have been. Josh died five days later on June 15.
Josh and Rose were to be married in October. Rose, who also has type 1 diabetes, also switched to the cheaper insulin. With the change, the couple hoped to save money for their wedding. Rose hasn't experienced any side effects from switching her insulin.
Josh was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was eight. He was one of the 7.5 million Americans who take insulin. The price of insulin continues to increase in the United States, making it hard for many Americans with diabetes to effectively medicate.
ReliOn is a form of human insulin, which is an earlier version of the analog insulin that doctors typically prescribe. Human insulin typically takes longer to kick in and is sometimes less effective. Americans switching over to cheaper insulin has increasingly caused preventable deaths across the United States.