Out of Insulin Stock: Outaouais Patients and Professionals Call for Action

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Insulin stock shortage: Outaouais patients and professionals ask to act

In Quebec, 760,000 people suffer from a form of diabetes (archives).

Suppression of insulin lispro Admelog™ in vial of 10 ml, since June 10, worried in Outaouais. Patients and providers are calling on the government to act.

Jozée Devoua-Nadeau, a jazz singer from the Outaouais region, was diagnosed at age 21. Since then, she has to combine every day with type 1 diabetes.

It's a full-time job, almost, to manage this disease. The first thing, in the morning, when you get up, you have to check your blood sugar, make sure it is neither too high nor too low. And with each meal or depending on the activity, you have to give yourself a dose of insulin, she says.

She recently switched medications to Admelog™, the less expensive biosimilar to Humalog™. An obligation enacted by the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ), under penalty of not being able to be reimbursed.

In a previous version of this article and in order to popularize the x27; information, it was stated that Admelog™ was the generic of Humalog™. Admelog™ is actually the biosimilar to Humalog™.

But on June 23, on her way to her pharmacy to pick up the two bottles of this medicine she uses on average each month, she learned that her medicine was out of stock.

Jozée Devoua-Nadeau has type 1 diabetes. She was diagnosed at age 21.

After calling all the pharmacies, including in Montreal and Quebec, and even the pharmaceutical company that produces the drug, she finally learned that the shortage could last until the end of September.

It was my life that I feared for because I said to myself: if there is no insulin, me, it is something that holds me urge. Then, you can't wait two months, it's in the immediate future, she says.

< p>“I've been doing this full-time every day for a week and a half, almost two, calling pharmacies, specialists, my insurance, to get my insulin replaced at no cost. »

—Jozée Devoua-Nadeau, resident of Gatineau

Today, Ms. Devoua-Nadeau denounces the lack of communication from the government and the pharmaceutical company. She is still waiting to find out if her insurance company will reimburse her for Humalog™, rather than Admelog™.

According to Martin Payer, President of Diabète Outaouais and pharmacist, alternatives exist but they require fairly major adjustments, which are added to the management of an already very complex chronic disease.

Cartridges and pre-filled pens still exist. […] It is sure that the handling is difficult, sometimes a little more complex… […] Otherwise, some insurances continue to cover. For patients, it's case by case, he says.

Martin Payer, President of Diabetes Outaouais

The disruption of supply, Mr. Payer explains that he heard about it when placing his order. According to Diabète Outaouais inc., this situation is most likely due to the RAMQ's decision to force the transition of all patients taking Humalog™ to Admelog™ since April 2022.

Vials of Humalog™ are still available, but RAMQ reimbursement is not adequate. And some private insurers have decided to follow the same guidelines and not reimburse Humalog™ in full.

This unacceptable situation could have been avoided with more planning, Diabète Outaouais believes, by press release.

What enrages me is that once again, government, insurance and pharmaceutical companies are ready to make financial decisions that will directly affect people's health. In this case, we are talking about life or death, indignant Ms. Devoua-Nadeau.

Dr. Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret, endocrinologist and diabetes specialist, recalls that insulin is one of the most expensive drugs on the market.

We know how it went in the United States. When insulin prices skyrocketed, there were people who didn't take enough, rationed, ended up in intensive care, and some died. We are facing an emergency, he says.

He is surprised that the government has not intervened sooner, when it is a question of life or death for some patients.

“We saw in the pandemic that we were able to do good things and change things quickly. »

— Dr. Rémi Rabasa Lhoret, endocrinologist and diabetes specialist

According to him and Diabète Outaouais, the solution would be to reimburse the available medication, pending resupply of Admelog™ .

It's already very expensive, even with universal coverage. If patients have to pay for insulin, we are heading for several disasters. Once again, I am surprised at the slowness of our health authorities at the Ministry of Health and the RAMQ to realize that we have a problem. We need to lift this obligation to go to [AdmelogMC], the time to have some in pharmacies.

Joined by Radio-Canada, the RAMQ had not responded at the time of publishing this article.

With information from Camille Kasisi-Monet and Fiona Collienne

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