Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Observations on a Sunny Day

Tanya has gone to Dnipropetrovs'k for the day, leaving me to putter about the house on my own, which I quite enjoy once in a while.  She is going to get insulin for Roman and to "check out" the flower market conveniently located near the bus depot.

We buy insulin for Roman that is made in Europe.  As Tanya says Insulin made in Ukraine or China (provided free by the health system) is only for people who want to die.  We started looking on Monday; only one drugstore in town carries it.  They didn't have any so Tanya phoned the best drugstore in Dnipropetrovs'k associated with the Medical Research Institute.  They were out of it too but would have some today.

Diabetes is a plague here in Ukraine and in Russia too.  I don't know the stats but I know two women who have lost a leg to it, each of whom may lose the other as well.  I should look up the stats for Canada.  From what I gather, much of the diabetes here is Type 2 ie adult onset and diet related but I don't know that for sure.  I do know that regardless, it all seems to be treated with insulin.

There does not seem to be much in the way of an education program in Ukraine for the public or even for the diabetics themselves.  Treatment seems to be a standard two injections per day.  Glucometers are available in most of the larger drugstores but they are the same price as in Canada and so are the strips at $1 each.  Using a glucometer to adjust insulin doses to maintain blood sugar at something approaching normal is totally beyond the reach of a huge percentage of the population.

Even if there were some kind of quality control on domestic and Chinese insulin it would save a lot of misery and likely lives too. There ought to be a special place in Hell for people who traffic in other people's misery (see also The Third Man) and the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats who allow it.

10 comments:

  1. I think in the USA they start with pills and work the way up to the insulin. I can't believe a dollar a strip!! My dad got his free through the VA...I will check to see if my mom still has them...along with the machine. Scary about the Chinese etc. dealing in fake meds..but happening more and more.

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    1. India deals in fake meds, too, big time but their government denies it. The Chinese government at least knows they have a problem. The Ukrainian government knows Ukraine does too but they are on the take so they like it that way.
      A Canadian friend of mine who runs marathons in his old age (Maybe close to 50 but I rub it in)goes through 8 strips a day because he keeps his levels within a very narrow range. He told me they were $1 each.

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  2. There have been problems in the US, too, with substandard and counterfeit medications. As long as the costs of medications remain high, there are going to be people trying to profit by faking them.

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    1. Are these made in USA or imported? From some countries you have to test every bottle, every tablet. The people pushing the Greed is Good mantra ought to be forced to take fake meds.

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  3. When you're out to make money, anything is permissible. Sadly.

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  4. Such an important subject in many respects. The first is the accurate diagnosis and guidelines for treatment of those living with diabetes. The second the availability of quality treatment and from your reports, that's a big issue where you live. In Canada the standard of practice for those living with Type II diabetes (if discovered early enough) starts with lifestyle management, then moves to oral medication if needed and from there to insulin if needed. There's good evidence we should look at who/how often people test their blood glucose (the machines and strips) for many people (more for those who either take no medication or oral medication) could reduce or eliminate the testing with no negative impact on their health. Here's some info:http://cadth.ca/en/products/optimal-use/self-monitoring

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    1. Barb, I doubt that Type II diabetes is ever discovered on time anymore. In Soviet times, employers sent employees for regular checkups and also annually to health spas for several weeks as a prophylactic measure. At these health spas, doctors would do routine checkups, too. Now, nothing. Unless you can afford to go to a health spa or until you are really sick and have to go to a doctor.
      Tanya is after Roman to check his blood sugar more often. The doctor just told him two shots per day. Short acting in morning, long acting at night. That was the extent of it.

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  5. We're in a two fold bad situation here in the U.S. With a down economy many people are not seeking medical care as they should, that in turn is cutting into hospital profits so hospitals are laying off people. Personally I don't think anyone should make a profit from someone's sickness

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    1. Agree. Health and Education are public goods. As are social safety nets, and the entire justice system.

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