Category: Diabetes/Prediabetes/Hypoglycemia


Monday, Apr 8
1:00 AM – 2:00 AM

Objective :

With the rising cost of medications for managing diabetes, it is relevant to question to if patients who are using strategies to reduce their drug costs have an increase in the stages of their retinopathy requiring treatment and additional expense.

Methods :

A survey was collected from people with and without advanced diabetes-related eye disease that required treatment as well as form individuals without medical insurance. The 6 question survey was taken in part from the larger National Health Interview Survey from 2013 and 2015. Questions were: During the past 12 months have you: Skipped medication doses to save money? Took less medicine to save money? Delayed filling a prescription to save money? Asked your doctor for a lower-cost medication to save money? Bought prescription drugs from another country to save money? Used alternative therapies to save money?

Results : Percentage of patients survived that used strategies to save money:

Discussion :

Strategies for reducing prescription drug costs were more commonly practiced by those who were uninsured and those who required treatment for diabetes-related retinopathy than those who had public or private coverage and those who did not have a diagnosis of diabetes. Lack of health insurance coverage and poverty are recognized risk factors for not taking medication as prescribed due to cost. This cost-saving strategy may result in poorer health status and increased health-related complications including diabetes-related retinopathy, compared with those who follow their recommended pharmacotherapy. Additional studies regarding the short term savings from cost-reduction strategies of alternative therapy use result in adverse health outcomes and higher long term health care costs.

Conclusion :

More than half of the cost of medical care has recently been tied to an increase in the cost of prescription drugs. Many of the newer antihyperglycemic medications have appealing profiles with improved pharmacokinetics, lower side-effect profiles, and better glycemic control. Despite these advantages, some people with diabetes are unable to afford costs that are sometimes 100 times greater than that of the available older diabetes drugs. Faced with the reality of increasing medical expenditures, some are searching for ways to provide diabetes care more cost-effectively. Unfortunately, the long term result of this approach could be leading an increase in the stages of their diabetes-related retinopathy often requiring additional medical treatments and cost.


Kellie Fagg

Medical Technician
Retina Associates, PA
Overland Park, Kansas

Kellie Fagg graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Kansas in 2014. Kellie has worked for Retina Associated, PA in Kansas City for four years during which time she has actively initiated diabetic education programs and resources for patients and groups throughout the community.

Taylor Lind

Medical Student
UMKC School of Medicine
Belton, Missouri

I am currently a fourth year medical student at UMKC SOM. I completed my Bachelor of Science degree at Avila University in December 2015, and started UMKC SOM in January 2016. I currently am hoping to pursue a residency in Ophthalmology, and eventually focus on patients with diabetic retinopathy. My father was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, and I have always wished to make a difference in the lives of diabetic patients— especially those of lower socioeconomic class. I spend time volunteering at KC Free Eye Clinic in downtown Kansas City, MO, in which free eye exams are given to those who do not have health insurance. One of the highlights in my medical school career was being selected for the Gold Humanism Honor Society which recognizes students who embody humanistic qualities in medicine while giving back to their community.

Blake Cooper

Retina Associates
Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Blake Cooper started practicing Vireoretinal Surgery in Kansas City 15 years ago after completing his ophthalmology residency and retina fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis/Barnes Hospital. His interest in diabetes is both professional and personal. He is the father of two children, the oldest of which has been living well with T1D since the age of 12.