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'Pay or die' review: A scathing doc on the brutal cost of insulin

Here are two phrases that should forever be banned from our vernacular: “medical refugees” and “insulin rationing”. Sadly, you hear their voices so often in Scott Alexander Ruderman and Rachael Dyer’s documentary, which had its world premiere at SXSW.

Frankly, if the title is right, Pay or Die

is an infuriating reminder of the economic and social Injustice is pervasive in our system that forces people to make life-or-death choices when it should be a simple matter of buying a life-sustaining drug—specifically, in this case, diabetes Insulin required by the patient.

Give or Die

Bottom line will make you want to channel your inner Bernie Sanders.

Venue : SXSW Film Festival (Documentary Feature Competition)
: Scott Alexander Rudman, Rachel Dyer 1 hour19 minutes

yes Yes, Eli Lilly, a large pharmaceutical company, recently announced price cuts on spending drugs. The Biden administration managed to get a bill through that capped insulin for Medicare patients at $37. (Republicans are opposed to extending price limits to all citizens, apparently unaware that diabetes also affects minors But incremental progress is not enough to guarantee that everyone with this potentially deadly disease gets what they need. Not to mention that medicines for many other diseases are still only available at often unaffordable prices.

For co-director Rudman, the question is deeply personal. He was only 19 years old when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and became dependent on insulin to regulate his blood sugar. That’s bad enough, but at least he’s still on his parents’ health insurance plan, which he can stick to until . (Thanks to Obamacare, even this benefit is a relatively new development.) As a freelance filmmaker, he is suddenly faced with the financial burden of paying for medication, which may require some dollars 65 vial or one month supply.

This is the drug found in 300 Two doctors at $1 each sold their patents because they didn’t think they should profit from it. One of them declared, “Insulin doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to the world.” It felt like a fairy tale.

Unsurprisingly, comedian

Sarah Silverman was The documentary Service, as executive producer, is very human in this matter. It begins with a family movie of Alec Smith from toddler to young adult. Alec developed type 1 diabetes at a young age and, like Rudman, was forced to cancel his parents’ insurance when he turned around 11. Without a job that offered health insurance, he tried to ration his insulin, which required several daily injections. Within a month of trying to pay for the medication himself, he was found dead at home. His parents tearfully told his story and showed a urn containing his ashes. They then made it their mission to persuade the Minnesota legislature to pass a bill to ensure that such unnecessary deaths do not occur in the future.

Then Sandra and her -year – Older daughter Emma also has type 1 diabetes. After Sandra lost her job, she and Emma were homeless, living in their car in the parking lot. The only way they can get the medication they need is to drive to Canada, where insulin costs a fraction of what it costs in the U.S. A young Canadian pharmacist commented: “Helping Americans in need is very rewarding. In the U.S., Prescription drugs are handled like a business. In Canada, it’s health care.” You find yourself cringing at the national disgrace.

Finally, there’s Kara, a bubbly person 26 year-old was unfortunately diagnosed with the disease after her vision suddenly became blurred during the height of the COVID epidemic. Forced to teach herself how to inject herself with insulin, she and her supportive boyfriend find themselves struggling to figure out how to deal with their new financial realities.

As we heard from several experts, including Mayo Clinic hemato-oncologist S. Vincent Rajkumar, who works to address the life-saving The problem of unaffordable medicines. In the United States, approximately 37 million people have diabetes, seven million of whom are insulin dependent. There is a national disgrace that so many people are not only battling disease but also surviving, and documentaries like this, no matter how well-intentioned, can only begin to address the issue.

Full credits

Venue: SXSW Film Festival (Documentary Feature Competition) Production company: Post Road Pictures, SALTY Features, Sons of Rigorousness, deNovo Initiative, Social Construction Directors: Scott Alexander Ruderman, Rachael Dyer Producers: Rachael Dyer, Scott Alexander Ruderman, Yael Melamede Executive Producers: Sarah Silverman, Amy Zvi, Douglas Choi, Martina Bassenger, Dawn Bonder, Marci Wiseman, Zak Kilberg, Russell Long, Sarah Lucas, Lauran Bromley, Trish AdlesicDirector of Photography: Scott Alexander Ruderman
Edit: Will Rogers Composer: T. Griffin
1 hour 19 minutes

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