Caravan leaves Twin Cities for Canada in search of affordable insulin

A caravan of people departed the Twin Cities Friday morning in search of a life-saving drug.

Downtown Minneapolis was the first stop on a crucial road trip for a group of men and women living with diabetes. "People don’t know how hard we work every single day to stay alive and to stay healthy."

Their drive to survive is sending them north across the border, and Quinn Nystrom is leading the way.

"One in four Americans have stated that they are rationing their insulin [because] they can’t afford it," said Nystrom.

It can mean the difference between life or death. As Minnesota lawmakers work to make insulin more affordable, this group is taking matters into their own hands.

"Going to Canada today means another couple months when they’re going to have reliable insulin to stay alive, it means peace of mind, less anxiety," Nystrom explains. "It means to have a couple of vials in the refrigerator to know that they’re going to be okay for a couple more months."

Nystrom says the cost for a vial of insulin in Minnesota can run about $340. In Canada, that same vial costs $30. "To just think we live in one of the most developed countries in the world, in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and we have people that have to ration a medication that came out 99 years ago, a medication that cost only $3 to $5 to actually manufacture."

Before reaching London, Ontario, they'll make stops in Michigan and Illinois. The trip is a short-term fix for a problem impacting thousands.

"Our government needs to act now, on the state and the federal level," argues Nystrom. "We need to pass insulin transparency laws. We need to pass price caps. We need to have accountability for pharmaceutical companies, for pharmacy benefit managers, and for health insurance companies."