By Bob Weaver

West Virginians are being directly affected by the rising costs of pharmaceuticals, a state rated by a number of studies as having among the worst health problems in the USA.

According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 250,000 people in West Virginia have diabetes. That's about 15.3 percent of the adult population.

West Virginia has among the highest rates of diabetes in the US, while being rated among states with the lowest incomes.

The cost of insulin for treating Type 1 diabetes in the United States nearly doubled over a recent five-year period, underscoring a national outcry over rising drug prices, while in many other counties the cost is low.

A patient with Type 1 diabetes incurred annual insulin costs of $5,705, on average, in 2016, and still rising.

The average cost was roughly half that, at $2,864 per patient, in 2012, according to a report just released by the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute.

The increasing cost of insulin has led some patients to put their own health at risk.

In recent months, anecdotal stories have cropped up from family members and patients describing the rationing of the lifesaving medication because they could not afford out-of-pocket expenses for insulin. That has also led to some protests outside company headquarters of insulin makers.

Washington has backed away from government control of the healthcare market, opting for a "free market" system.

During the administration of George Bush, a bill was passed to have Medicare pay on prescriptions.

However, there were no price controls on what prescriptions would cost, a win-win for pharmacy companies.

Follow the money.

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