My family and I were planning to spend a couple of weeks in Maryland and Washington, DC. A lot of the planning for the trip from Florida revolved around the insulin supply for my son, Luke, who is on pump therapy. Since we were to be gone for a couple weeks, Luke wore his insulin pump for the first half of our trip and planned to use his insulin pens once we arrived in Washington, DC for the second half.
Shortly after we arrived in the capitol on a Sunday evening, however, we realized we had left Luke’s insulin pens in the hotel room refrigerator. His pump was extremely low and would not get him through the night without a refill. We immediately called the hotel in Maryland, where a manager retrieved his pens and promised to overnight it the next day to our hotel in DC.
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That still left us with a insulin supply gap of a day, or possibly more. We headed to the nearest CVS Pharmacy, where I explained to the pharmacist what had happened and how we needed to some emergency insulin to get us through the next day. The pharmacist stared blankly when I said “emergency insulin”, and told me I had to call my insurance company to obtain authorization.
The discussion turned into more of a plea, as I kept explaining why Luke needed the insulin. The pharmacist shook her head and said, “I’m sorry, but there is nothing I can do unless you can get it authorized from your insurance company.”
Luke’s insulin pump only had a few units left. I was in tears and began to call for a taxi to the emergency room. It was then that the pharmacist was able to get our insurance company to authorize a one-time refill.
I couldn’t understand why the pharmacist didn’t just refill the prescription when I said it was emergency insulin. Then it hit me – we were not in Florida. In my home state, a law had been passed that allowed pharmacists to refill an insulin prescription in an emergency without a prescription or authorization. This law is based on a similar law that had been passed in Ohio after a man with diabetes, Kevin Houdeshell, died when his prescription wasn’t filled.
As Luke’s prescription was being filled, I felt grateful to live in one of the few states that has such a law in place. I also was flooded with gratitude once again for the family who worked hard to get the original law passed in Ohio. This law should be passed in all states, and I hope others will carry on their work to make it happen.
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