BALTIMORE Did you know that here in Maryland an estimated 623,000 people, or 12.6% of the population, now have diabetes? Of these, 156,000 of them have diabetes and simply do not know it. In addition, 1,634,000 people in Maryland or a staggering 36.9% of the population, have pre-diabetes.
American Diabetes Association estimates that over 30 million Americans are affected by diabetes and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. In our community, studies show that we are disproportionately affected by diabetes. The rates of diagnosed diabetes among African Americans is 12.7% compared to 7.4% of whites.
Diabetes is a dangerous and deadly illness if not monitored and controlled. Unchecked, it can result in heart disease, stroke, amputation, end-stage kidney disease, blindness and death. In fact, the Maryland Health Department’s Annual Vital Statistics Report reports that diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death in 2017 where 33.2% of those were African Americans compared to 15.9% of whites.
When diabetes is diagnosed, it can be very expensive to treat. African Americans not only face the dilemma of increased diabetes diagnoses, but also face numerous of health care challenges when trying to manage diabetes for a better quality; such as cost for treatments, medications, limited supplies and access to primary care. In fact, people with diabetes have medical expenses about 2.3 times higher than those without it.
When it is hard to afford medication, people may be tempted to try to ration their insulin or not use it as often. That is unwise and even less so with diabetes, which requires lifestyle changes and vigilance with medications.
Eli Lilly and Company, a global leader in diabetes care, understands these gaps, circumstances and burdens of costs in our community. They understand that there are gaps in health care for communities of color and working to help close it by reducing the cost of insulin. They have launched the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center and Helpline to help provide solutions to people who need help paying for their insulin, such as those with lower incomes, the uninsured, and people still paying their deductible in a high-deductible insurance plan. It is truly an innovative program with a multifaceted approach to helping diabetes sufferers afford necessary medications.
The Baltimore Times applauds Eli Lilly for this new effort and the work they have done to help patients access and afford treatments and get on the road to a healthier lifestyle.
Diabetes patients can call the center and representatives will work with them and develop a cost-savings plan based on the patient’s economic and personal situations. The Lilly Diabetes Solution Center phone number is 1-833-808-1234. The call center is fully staffed by health care professionals such as nurses and pharmacists who have the expertise to assist patients.
As diabetes cases continue to increase, Lilly’s program is providing help for people with immediate needs for insulin.
Our hats are off to Lilly for actively trying to help those with this disease. It is this sort of ground-breaking and compassionate thinking that can spur the entire health care industry to establish practices that get the most vulnerable the health care they need, keep more of us healthy and save money for patients in the long run.