CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – They were a small band of marchers outside the Cambridge office of the pharmaceutical company Sanofi, but they carried with them what they believe is powerful evidence of the high cost of insulin for diabetics.
Among the protesters was Antoinette Worsham of Cincinnati, Ohio who carried the ashes of her 22-year-old daughter Antavia in a small vial. She died last year after being forced to ration insulin she couldn’t afford at $1,000 a month. “It’s either pay your rent, pay your car payment or get your medication,” said Worsham.
Nicole Smith-Holt’s 26-year-old son Alex also died last year when she could no longer carry him on her insurance and Alex couldn’t afford his own. “Unfortunately within 27 days of having no insurance he was found dead in his apartment because he couldn’t afford the insulin,” Smith-Holt said. She didn’t know that he was also rationing his insulin.
Sanofi is one of three global manufacturers of the drug that protesters say are jacking up prices at the expense of patients. In a symbolic move the two mothers tried to carry their children’s ashes right to the company’s doorstep but were turned away by Cambridge police telling them they were on private property.
Sanofi would only issue a statement, “We take this issue seriously and continue to explore innovative ways to find solutions to help eliminate or significantly reduce the out-of-pocket expenses for patients.”