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Bernie Sanders brings diabetic caravan to Windsor, Ontario
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Bernie Sanders brings diabetic caravan to Windsor, Ontario 

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Well known U.S. Democrat and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made the voyage to Canada’s southernmost city, Windsor Ontario this Sunday with a small caravan of American citizens who sought to obtain more affordable insulin.

Sanders, an outspoken democratic socialist who has vouched for cheaper medical costs in the U.S, criticized American Big Pharma’s “greed.”

Standing outside of the Olde Walkerville Pharmacy in the city’s historic Walkerville district, Sanders held up a vial of insulin.

“Here’s the bottom line,” said Sanders. “This is a vial of insulin. In the United States, depending on where you live, it’ll cost 350 to 400 bucks. Here in Canada, it will cost 35 to 40 bucks. One-tenth the price, made by  the same manufacturer.”

“We are going to end pharma’s greed,” said the curmudgeonly yet charming Sanders.

Inside the Walkerville pharmacy, diabetes advocate Quinn Nystrom told media that diabetics are taking drastic measures to avoid paying the ludicrous insulin prices in the United States, including rationing their insulin, a practice that medical professionals advise against and is considered to be dangerous.

“We had a young gentleman who was 21 years old, worked two jobs, in Minnesota, named Jesse – he was found dead in his apartment, you know, at the end of June,” Nystrom said. “For what reason? Because of price-gouging and corruption.”

Sanders made a comparison in front of the crowd, standing next to a mother who claims to spend nearly $1,500 USD a month for her son’s insulin, whereas in Windsor, that same woman paid only $1000 USD for a six-month supply.

“Over the last 20 years, (the) pharmaceutical industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on campaign contributions,” Sanders said. “They buy and sell politicians. Republicans and Democrats. In the last 20 years they have spent billions of dollars on lobbying Congress to make sure that they can continue to charge the American people any price they want.”

Sanders outlines how the insulin market in the United States is controlled by three major manufacturers, who Sanders lambastes for “coincidentally” raising their insulin prices at the same time.

Pharmaceutical companies have been in Sanders’ crosshairs for some time now, as prescription drug prices in the U.S. have continued to double since the start of the decade.

The diabetic caravan has made the voyage across the border two times before, once in May and a second time in June.

Another group made up of 45 people made the trek to London Ontario, and visited an important spot in diabetic history; the Banting House, where Sir Frederick Banting discovered insulin nearly 100 years ago.

Though insulin-tourism serves well as a campaign move, some worry that the supply will not meet the demand of both a Canadian and American. market.

A letter from 15 groups made up of health professionals, hospitals, pharmacists, and patients urged the federal government to safeguard the Canadian drug supply, according to CTV News.

“The Canadian medicine supply is not sufficient to support both Canadian and U.S. consumers,” the letter states. “The supply simply does not, and will not, exist within Canada to meet such demands.”


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