Chatting on the Intermaweb the other day with other British diabetics, we suddenly and collectively realised that we didn’t actually have any idea how much our diabetes cost the NHS each year. Unlike some of our American friends, because of the wonders of the NHS, we’re almost completely shielded from the actual cost of our life-giving supplies.
Therefore last time I was collecting my monthly prescription I talked my friendly pharmacist into letting me go behind the counter after closing time to check out the wholesale prices of diabetic supplies in the UK.
Unfortunately, being a model of incredible efficiency, he couldn’t find his latest price list, so we had to rely on one that was a few months out of date – but you’ll get the idea. Anyway, those prices in full:
- Lantus – £39 per pack of 5 bottles
- Humalog – £28.31 per pack of 5 bottles
- Test strips – £14.53 per pack of 50 strips
Of course, these are the UK wholesale price and the eventual cost to the NHS will almost certainly vary from this. There’s a whole new world involving grey-market imports & exports as well as practices that I consider to be very close to price-fixing between the pharmaceutical companies – but we’ll leave all those fun things for another article. The long and short of it is, based on my back-of-cigarette-packet calculations, I cost the NHS about £175 a month or (to save you working it out) £2,100 a year.
Of course, these calculations are very rough and are for mere supplies only. They don’t take into account the costs of my regular check ups at the ERI, the time it takes for my local doc to sign off my prescription every month or the costs to my employers of my time off work to go for check ups and the myriad other costs that my diabetes incurs.
I’ve also quickly worked out the amount of tax I pay and the National Insurance contributions my employers contribute to the Exchequer’s coffers. When you take into account all the other non-health related services I use then, hurrah, I’m almost certainly a drain on the nation’s finances! I’m so proud to be diabetic!