A new study, published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, has found that many diabetic patients in the United States are turning to the black market for medications and supplies.
As the U.S. healthcare system has been failing to meet diabetic patients’ needs, diabetes medication supply and blood-test strips have been sold and traded on the black market.
The study found that more than half of the participants relying on the black market to get medications said they have no access to proper medications and blood-test supplied to treat their condition.
Lead study author Michelle Litchman told Reuter Health, “It is important for healthcare providers and policymakers to understand what people are doing to support diabetes management when faced with medication and supply access issues.”
The study researchers noted that the insulin price continued to increase, costing patients about $15 per day.
“While there are risks to using medications and supplies that are not prescribed to them, there are also risks to rationing or not taking medications or using supplies at all,” added Litchman.
The researchers gathered data from 159 people, of which more than 50 percent said they had donated diabetes medications or supplies, 35 percent received donations, 24 percent traded medications, 22 percent borrowed medications, and 15 percent purchased medications through the black market.
“The current healthcare situation in the United States is substandard for many people with chronic disease,” said Mary Rogers of the University of Michigan, who was not part of the current study.
“It is too costly. It is too slow. It is too complicated,” she added. “Failure to fix these problems leads to diabetic complications and unnecessary hospitalizations.” Using medications bought from the black market could increase the risk of unanticipated adverse effects, complications, drug interactions, and delay in seeking medical help. Moreover, selling, trading, and buying prescription drugs through the black market is illegal in the United States and other nations.