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Lawmakers are trying to control the cost of insulin — why our bodies need it

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Injecting insulin
Eugenia Delgado shows the type of syringe she uses to inject insulin. Delgado is a diabetic and is among the many Minnesota Latinos with a high prevalence of health-related issues. On Monday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers announced the beginnings of a plan to help Minnesotans who struggle to afford insulin.
Alex Kolyer | MPR News 2011

A bipartisan group of lawmakers announced Monday the beginnings of a plan to help supply emergency insulin to Minnesotans who cannot afford the rising cost of the drug. Insulin prices have tripled over the last 10 years, according to the governor's office. One Minnesota mother, Lija Greenseid, told MPR News in May a one-month supply insulin pens for her daughter costs $700. 

So, what is it about insulin that makes it so critical to those who need it? 

“It’s a hormone that’s produced by the pancreas and it allows glucose, or sugar, into our cells to be used,” Dr. Jon Hallberg, medical director of the University of Minnesota Physicians Mill City Clinic, told MPR News host Steven John. 

When people have diabetes, their pancreas stops producing glucose altogether or the body stops responding to the glucose it does produce.

To learn more about insulin and what’s contributing to high costs, use the audio player above.