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Syringes are a pain...to obtain!
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Syringes are a pain...to obtain!

I have been a Type 1 diabetic for 38 years now. I inject insulin three times a day. I have become more and more aggravated with the fact that syringes are available by prescription only! Does anyone out there really believe that such a vital, simplistic medical device should not be available "over-the-counter"? What is the reason we are being told that it must be this way? Does it make any logical sense at all that millions of legitimate users of syringes cannot purchase them at a pharmacy, without going to a doctor first, because some heroin addicts might buy them too? And let's face it, if drug users bought clean needles instead of sharing dirty needles wouldn't the spread of AIDS and other diseases decline? Isn't that a good thing?

Let's face facts. Who benefits from syringes being prescription only? Just look at all the over-the-counter drugs in a pharmacy. Aspirins, cold remedies, allergy medicines, and so on are all fairly cheap. Now take a look at the prescription medicines. Considerably more expensive! Who benefits from the disparage? The pharmacy does by selling higher priced items. The manufacturer of the product does as well. Who else? The doctor, because you have to make an office visit to get the prescription! (Even if you don't feel that you need to go to the doctor because you are perfectly healthy!) Syringes are a piece of plastic and a tiny piece of metal. How much do you think the materials cost to make them? Four cents each? Maybe five cents including the ink needed for the dosage gauge? Then why are they so expensive? That's simple...because they are "prescription only". To me it is obvious that we are all being inconvenienced because of greed. It's all a scam! They all care more about the money in their pockets than making life easier for diabetics. As if we didn't have enough to deal with! Greed. Think about it.

I do have a viable compromise. Some individuals have a handicap license plate so they can park closer to the entrance of movie theaters and super-markets. You get the permit because your doctor authorizes it. What is wrong with a diabetic picture ID card which is renewable annually by your doctor? You present the card to your local pharmacist and you can purchase syringes. The information goes into a database and you can refill your needles when needed. Or your insurance company can give you a card verifying that you are a diabetic. This way you are not FORCED to make regular doctor's visits when you are perfectly feeling fine just to get your prescriptions that you need to stay alive!

I am going to write to my congressman AND to my health insurance company about this. I hope that all of you who feel the way that I do about this will do the same.

Finally, if you really believe that syringes might get into the "wrong hands" if they were readily available, let me suggest this. Maybe we shouldn't be allowed to walk into Macy's and purchase silverware because we wouldn't want a steak knife to get into the hands of a murderer. After all, isn't murder a more serious crime than drug abuse? If anyone can give me a coherent and rational reason why syringes should remain "prescription only", I'd love to hear it.

- Razbo
Related Discussions
Avatar_n_tn
Dear Razbo,
Personally, I can't say that I disagree with what you are saying, but then again politics, economics and medicine have always been linked.  Syringes are a relatively small issue in this picture.  Although I have been accused of being an idealist, taking on the drug/medical system is a little to big for me to even consider.

I do have one comment on a slightly different tangent.  Although it may be a pain to have to get prescriptions for certain obvious things like insulin and syringes, I do think it is important for people with diabetes to see their doctors at least once a year, even if it is just for routine bloodwork.  I see my diabetes doctor every 3 months just so I can check my A1C and I've had diabetes for 39 years. Don't neglect your health just because of politics.  As long as you're going once a year, make sure you get all your prescriptions refillable for a year and then, at least, you won't get so frustrated.  Of course, I wouldn't stop working for what you believe in.  You never know when you just might win!
es
11 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn
Razbo,

The system here in New Zealand is quite different. But it is just as frustrating for diabetics. Drug addicts are given nice new sterile needles, so they don't use dirty ones. And we have to pay for them! But they are available without prescription.

Is there any reason to use syringes. I have been using insulin pens for years. And they are so much more convenient. I have just switched fom NPH to Lantus. And the Lantus pen has been withdrawn from the market. But the cartridges fit perfectly in a Humalog pen.

Cheers,

Mark
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Avatar_m_tn
Markie,

A word of caution with Lantus and a pen. Lantus injected into a blood vessel by mistake can have serious consequences with VERY RAPID BS drop to dnagerously low levels (I went from 180 mg/dl to 30 in 30 minutes!). It must be injected into the skin and crystalize to produce the slow release effect.With a pen, you cannot draw back and check for blood before injecting. I am not surpised that the pen was withdrawn. It was not a safe idea in the first palce.

Larry
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Avatar_n_tn
i readily understand your wanting to buy syringes over-the-counter but as there are other ways of getting the prescriptions to last for the better part of a year then it isn't such a problem.Plus, diabetics should see their physicians at least every six months, to check A1C tests and any other potential problems diabetes can present. Which is why they always tell diabetics to take of their shoes at a doctor visit so he will be forced to inspect it.
i'm not altogether sure that making it a nonprescription item would reduce the cost very much, since i used to work in machine shops and though you may be right it is only a few pennies of raw materials, they are being formed into very precise mechanical things to precisely diliver the same miniscule amount of insulin at each use. This doesn't come cheap and neither does making the syringe itself smaller so it is less painful.
But if you feel that this is something you want to persue, then go for it. But prescription only items are forced to be completely uniform. Over-the-counter items are not and if syringes are made so that some are not uniform then doctors and diabetics would have to compare brands to see which are best. This is because every problem has it's plus side and negative side to it. Good Luck with your vision. Perhaps you may be right.
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Avatar_n_tn
Amen, Razbo!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the replies. I never said that I don't think diabetics should visit their doctor on a regular basis. I meant that you should not have to go to a doctor for a prescription for syringes. I find it absurd that I have to make an appointment, wait in the waiting room and get a check-up when I don't need one, just to get my syringes. If I want to go to a doctor for my check-ups, I will decide when I want to go.

I do get my syringes sent to me and the cost is covered by my health plan. I am not saying that is it such a tremendous burden to get them. I am saying that it is an inconvenience that is just not necessary. I recently called to refill my prescription and I was told that it was too early to refill it. However, the date I was given when my refill could be done would have left me 11 days without any syringes. Obviously my doctor screwed up the amount of syringes I use in a day when she faxed the prescription in. If the needles were available over-the-counter, I could buy the 2 week supply to hold me over until the refill was sent to me.

I live in New York City and I do realize that every state is different. I'm sorry I didn't mention that in my original rant. :)

Razbo
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Razbo,

I completely agree with you.  I live in Oklahoma and we can buy syringes over the counter, which I did for 9 years until my son got an insulin pump.  

I also agree with you that the price WILL probably be higher if an item becomes "prescription only" because the pharmacy takes a larger cut for their involvement to control the item.

I think we are facing a very serious problem currently in the U.S.  The drug companies and medical supply manufacturers are gouging the American public with unfair prices, while the same goods are sold in other countries for MUCH less.

I think all citizens should explore purchasing their prescription drugs ONLINE from CANADIAN PHARMACIES.  Many of the drugs are the exact same items sold in the U.S., imported to Canadian pharmacies  from U.S. drug manufacturers, then re-exported from the Canadian pharmacy to a customer in the U.S., but at a much lower price than can be obtained in the U.S.  You can find CANADIAN PHARMACIES online by going to: http://www.google.com  and doing a search for "online canadian pharmacies".

I have been looking into purchasing NOVOLOG (called NOVORAPID in Canada).  I have found one pharmacy that sells it for $39.99 per 10ml vial (compared to $62.59 per 10ml  vial at my local pharmacy in the U.S.).  The Express Shipping charge is $14 (for your TOTAL order, not each item), and if I buy 6 vials at a time, I will save $121.60 (even with the shipping charge).

Also, did I mention that NOVOLOG (NOVORAPID in Canada) does NOT require a prescription in Canada!   It is sold as an over-the-counter drug (like  most other insulins).

Some Canadian pharmacies will not currently ship insulin (but used to until some drug companies began to complain....lost $$$).  Other U.S. drug companies warned some Canadian pharmacies that they would not continue to supply them if they continued to re-export their products back to the U.S.  It is...as you said in your post...GREED!!

Before it was well known to the public that Canadian drugs were available online, there were Canadian pharmacies selling NOVOLOG (NOVORAPID in Canada) for as little as $25 per 10ml vial that I found.  The current political regime in the U.S. (you know who you are) put pressure on the Canadian government and the Canadian pharmacies in a effort to try to stop American citizens from being able to purchase drugs from Canada.

Tulsa, Oklahoma had one of the first businesses in the U.S. that would make all the arrangements to purchase drugs for U.S. citizens from Canadian pharmacies.  The government eventually shut them down.  

I think you can also find syringes being sold by most Canadian pharmacies ONLINE, without a  prescription requirement.  And, for that matter, there are probably U.S. pharmacies selling syringes online without a prescription requirement.  I've never checked into that, but you might want to.

Sorry for the long post.
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Avatar_n_tn
http://www.diabetes-care.com

You can buy insulin syringes online for competitive prices, plus shipping, at the following website:  

http://www.diabetes-care.com

The shipping price improves dramatically with each box of syringes over the first box, making this a good alternative to buying from local pharmacies.  No prescription required.
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Avatar_n_tn
In the UK you have to get nearly everything on prescription, and believe me it can be very frustrating.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hey i have been told by the Dr that i might be developing type 1 diabetes... do i need a script in New Zealand to get insulin, or can i get it over the counter?? i want to get some just in case anything happens, and it will give my mum some comfort as well, but the Dr said to just wait and see what it turns into because it might not be diabetes... i am very confused and would just like to get some just in case i need it instead of having to rush to the emergency room. The Dr is just being cautious, but i had someone in my family die from diabetes and i dont want that to happen... i would rather be safe than sorry :)
oh and if i can get it what should i ask for?
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1794671_tn?1338798991
We need more people with thoughts like yours! I sometimes wonder why do people even donate money to the diabetes foundation when even if they did find a cure, they would never reveal it!!!!!! The pharmaceutical companies make millions off of us and make sure that we stay this way so they can make money.. Us buying our prescription should be the fund.. and sometimes I wonder if they are putting something in the insulin to make us even sicker! To buy more monitors, and more pumps and more and more and more!!!! Luckily I have insurance to buy it, but wth I didn't ask to become Diabetic and if I couldn't pay I would Die!!! That is freakin scary!! Thanks for this post, happy to see people are enlightened. I may be paranoid, but only the paranoid survive.  =D
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