Cost of treating diabetes has skyrocketed - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cost of treating diabetes has skyrocketed

Lenita Brown's copays have more than tripled during the last eight years. That's when she started taking the meds for type 2 diabetes and now she admits she sometimes scrimps on her pills.

 "At times I need to stretch the medication out, " said Brown.

"Can't buy a new pair of shoes today, can't go to the hairdresser next week, you know you're constantly doing something in order to pay for the medicine," continued Brown.

At the University of Chicago Medical Center, Doctor Caleb Alexander prescribes older, generic drugs to Lenita.

They cost far less than the newest drugs on the market.

"One thing we found in our study is the costs of some of the newer medicine are 8 to 10 times the cost of their older counterparts," said Dr. Caleb Alexander.

Dr. Alexander said there is no long-term evidence that the newer drus are more effective or even as safe as drugs from the 1990s.

His study in the Archives of Internal Medicine may prompt doctors to rethink how they use the newest diabetes drugs and even to emphasize non-drug treatments.

"Our study highlights encouraging patients to lead healthy lifestyles," said Alexander.

Online Executive Producer Nate Leding

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