A Virginia man with Type 1 diabetes died in June after taking over-the-counter insulin to pay for his wedding. His mother said he purchased the cheaper alternative after aging out of his stepfather’s insurance.
According to PEOPLE, Josh Wilkerson,26, and his fiancee, Rose Walters,27,were saving money for their upcoming wedding but Wilkerson aged out of his stepfather’s health insurance. Unable to pay for the $1,200 price for his insulin each month, Wilkerson sought a cheaper alternative. After asking his doctor for other insulin options, Wilkerson was told to buy the product ReliOn from Walmart.
Walters said that she and Wilkerson would try the product together since they have Type 1 diabetes.
“We figured: Hey, it’s $25. We can do that. And we’ll just work with it and try to do the best we can,”
However, the medication takes over four hours to regulate blood sugar levels.
After taking the medication, Wilkerson started to experience stomach pains and mood swings.
“I would tell him, ‘Check your blood sugar,’ and he would check it, and it would be high.”
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Four months before his wedding, Wilkerson was found unconscious while working the overnight shift at the Northern Virginia dog kennels. Doctors reported he suffered several strokes after taking the medication and went into a diabetic coma since his blood sugar levels were 17 times higher than a normal level. He was taken off of life support on June 14, five days after he was found.
Press play to learn more in the video clip below.