Mother Loses Son To Diabetes, Rallies To Make Prescription Drugs More Affordable

By Tanya Diente, Parent Herald May 14, 08:02 pm
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Nicole Smith-Holt of Richfield, Minnesota spent the eve of Mother's Day on the steps of the Minnesota Capitol and rallied against the increasing prices of prescription medicines including the diabetes drug insulin, an epidemic that killed her son Alec Smith.

Insulin Price Surge

Smith-Holt joined other protestors in what has been billed as the Insulin Day of Action to call on lawmakers to lower the prices of insulin and other prescription drugs in the United States, which has skyrocketed by 100 percent in the past 10 years. Joined by her husband James, the bereaved mother called for a legislation that would prevent excessive price increases for medications needed for Americans to survive, including insulin and epinephrine allergy injections.

"I thought it was only fitting that I'd spend my day doing the things he loved to do to make me happy," Smith-Holt said of her son, whom she said died from lack of insulin.

Alec Smith died at the age of 26 in his Minneapolis apartment on June 27 just weeks after aging out of his parents' insurance coverage. An autopsy revealed that he died from a critical shortage of insulin called diabetic ketoacidosis. He was unable to afford the $1,300 refill on his own so begun rationing diabetes medication until his next paycheck without his parents' knowledge.

Mother's Day

This is the first time that Smith-Hold celebrated Mother's Day without her son. She admitted that it is heartbreaking since he would always spend the day with her. She recalled that Alec would always show up at her job to bring her a bouquet of flowers or take her out for dinner on Mother's Day.

"I should be with my son. I should not have had to bury him at such a young age. No one should have to bury a child," the anguished mother said.

The rally came after President Donald Trump unveiled his plan to lower the medication prices with a focus on private competition instead of under Medicare. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar criticized the president's plan for not doing enough negotiations with the pharmaceutical industry.

Klobuchar said that Alec's story is not isolated. She also vowed to help Smith-Holt and the others in their plight to lower the prices of pharmaceutical medicines.

"The pharmaceutical companies own Washington. We're not going to take this anymore. We're going to stand up against the drug companies," Klobuchar said.

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