Mom Begging for Lower Insulin Prices After Son Dies Rationing His Medication


Alec Raeshawn Smith, 26, was trying to hold out for payday so he could afford to pick up his insulin prescription. But Smith, a type 1 diabetic, was found dead in his apartment before payday arrived.

The heartbreaking details surrounding Smith’s untimely death have people across the country outraged. Smith’s mom, Nicole Smith-Holt, is angry — and now, she’s advocating for major change.

When Smith aged out of his family’s health insurance plan, he looked for alternatives. But he didn’t qualify for public health insurance programs and he couldn’t afford to purchase his own health insurance plan.

Smith was faced with the unsustainable burden of buying insulin on his own, which cost him between $1,000 and $2,000 dollars a month. His mother had no idea her son was rationing his dwindling insulin supply, holding out for payday.

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“He was actually found dead in his apartment on June 27th,” Smith-Holt said, adding her son’s insurance coverage stopped on June 1, 2017. “So he lasted 27 days not being covered.”

After her son’s death, Smith-Holt learned her son had visited the pharmacy, only to leave without medication, in shock over the price tag.

“He didn’t have that much in his bank account on that day so he left, and rumor has it that he was trying to stretch what he had left of his supply to last a couple more days to his payday so that he could pick up his prescriptions.”

Now, Smith-Holt is taking action, insisting the government step in to regulate the cost of life-saving medicine. According to the American Diabetes Association, the price of insulin has tripled from 2002 to 2013.

Smith-Holt quickly found other families in similar scenarios of desperation. Paul Grant, whose son lives with type 1 diabetes, testified in May before the Senate Committee on Aging.

Grant said his desperation for insulin has put him into debt, often using credit cards to purchase insulin, or borrowing it from friends. “Nearly a thousand dollars [each month] for medicine that Solomon absolutely needs to be alive,” Grant expressed.

As this year’s Mother’s Day came and went, Smith-Holt spent the day without her son, but she refuses to let his death be in vain.

“I want to share Alec’s story and our struggle — our grief — to hopefully make a change, to make people aware of what’s going on out here,” she said.

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“It hurts,” Smith-Holt admitted. “It hurts because I know that he would be here today if the price of insulin weren’t so darned expensive.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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