Black market for diabetes drugs has come under the spotlight of attention in the US. Parking lots of shopping centers have become nodes for illegally exchanging drugs. However, vials exchanged across these non-medical premises are not illicit or unauthorised. They contain insulin that has been used for controlling diabetes for several decades. Besides, the discovery of insulin led to diabetes being termed as a ‘manageable disease’ as against a life-threatening one. The price of insulin in the US has reached unprecedented values, raising several affordability concerns amongst the masses. A large number of informal selling channels have also cropped up across the country. Unauthorised sellers stock drugs acquired from people who do not use it, and sell it in the black market. Insulin is amongst the most sought-after drugs across the US black market.
Making-Up for Disability Allowance
A number of people who receive disability allowances also resort to buying insulin from the black market. This is because their public health insurance does not cover prescription medicine. Most people who need to inject insulin several times a day have become regular ‘buyers’ in America’s black market. A person suffering from type-1 diabetes would typically pay $1,000 for buying their monthly insulin dose from pharmacies. However, in the black market, they can buy the same contents for much lesser.
Acquiring Insulin for Black Market
The stock of insulin sold in the black market comes from relatives of patients who died. The ‘agents’ interact with their ‘leads’ on Facebook, or via text messages. They often use cryptic language to evade detection in case there is a scrutiny drill. Not all the people who buy from unauthorised sellers are poor, or without means of subsistence. They buy from the black market because their health insurance does not cover the costs of their monthly insulin.