To Protest Insulin Prices, Activists Bring Their Children’s Ashes To Drug Maker

Nicole Smith-Holt's son Alec died last year at the age of 26, after he began rationing insulin because he could no longer afford it.Screengrab/LOCAL 12/YouTube

Nicole Smith-Holt and another mother planned to bring the ashes of their children to protest a U.S. insulin maker.

Two women whose children died after rationing their insulin planned to protest sky-high insulin prices at one of the drug’s makers on Friday — bringing the ashes of their children with them.

According to STATNews, Nicole Smith-Holt and another mother were slated to travel to insulin maker Sanofi in Cambridge, Mass. this week.

> “It’s a visual reminder for them of what’s at stake,” Smith-Holt said, who will join activists in a “die-in” at the Sanofi office on Friday.

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> Anger over insulin prices in the U.S. has swelled as the nation’s largest insulin makers have hiked the price of the drug. Those price increases are now the subject of a class-action lawsuit and have drawn the attention of lawmakers in Washington.

Patients, caregivers and clinicians are also expressing outrage over the price increases, with some protesting last month outside of Eli Lilly’s headquarters, demanding “insulin for all”.

> When Smith-Holt’s son had health insurance, he paid between $200 and $300 a month for the insulin and supplies he needed for his type 1 diabetes. He died on June 27, 2017 — less than a month after his 26th birthday, when he could no longer stay on his mother’s health insurance plan. Without insurance, the restaurant manager was facing about $1,300 a month in out-of-pocket costs, according to Smith-Holt.

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> “Unfortunately, he didn’t reach out to anyone for help. He was trying to make what he had last,” Smith-Holt said. After he called out sick from work, Smith’s girlfriend went to check on him in his apartment. She heard his phone ringing, but he never picked up. She found him on the bedroom floor.

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> “This is a crisis,” said Smith-Holt. She will lead the protest with Antroinette Worsham, an Ohio mother whose 22-year-old daughter, Antavia, died in April 2017. Worsham went on to found a nonprofit that aims to raise awareness and provide financial help to patients with diabetes who can’t afford treatment.

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