Sen. Kelly, and Stratford Resident Applaud Advancement of Legislation Which Can Benefit Those Diagnosed With Type II Diabetes

March 2, 2023

For Immediate Release
March 2, 2023

Sen. Kelly, and Stratford Resident Applaud Advancement of Legislation

Which Can Benefit Those Diagnosed With Type II Diabetes

Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly today applauded the legislature’s General Law Committee for advancing legislation he introduced which would enable Connecticut’s Commissioner of Consumer Protection to adopt regulations to restrict prescriptions and sales of Trulicity and Ozempic to persons diagnosed with type II diabetes until the shortage of such drugs has abated.

“The concept for this bill originated with my constituent from Stratford, Jeff Harris, and I thank him for his thoughtful input,” Sen. Kelly said.  “Trulicity and Ozempic help people with diabetes keep blood sugar levels in check. But many with this chronic illness have been forced to switch medications because these drugs are no longer available at their local pharmacy. Those with diabetes have also had the inconvenience of having to travel significant distances across our state, as well as to several different pharmacies, to get the medication they need.”

“Sen. Kelly pretty much covered exactly my experience when I couldn’t get Trulicity,” said Jeff Harris.  “When my endocrinologist prescribed Trulicity last summer, I was finally able to get my sugar levels under control after struggling for 20 years.  The shortages caused by physicians prescribing it as a weight loss drug to non-diabetics should never have happened.  My current supply runs out in two weeks.  I hope I can get it refilled.  My life depends on Trulicity.”

Sen. Kelly noted that some patients have been forced to take a lower dose of medication because it’s all that was available. That is not an ideal situation, because patients often do not respond the same way as they did on the higher dose.

“You can imagine the frustration of individuals whose blood sugar levels have been fluctuating as they have had to change medications,” Sen. Kelly said.  “Without medication, people with Type 2 diabetes risk blood sugar spikes that can potentially lead to serious health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, hearing loss and stroke. Even in the short run, people can feel poorly from high blood glucose levels.”

Sen. Kelly said that those whose blood sugar levels have gone back up since being off Trulicity and Ozempic are understandably upset.

“They need it to stay alive and keep functioning on a regular basis,” Sen. Kelly said.  “Switching to different drug invariably complicates matters. Then when Trulicity and Ozempic become available for patients again, going back to those drugs can also come with new side effects like nausea.”

The shortage has made matters difficult not only for patients, but for physicians as well.  Doctors dealing with these complications are forced to spend extra time acting as a middleman instead of caring for patients. A potential solution to this frustrating scenario can be found in Sen. Kelly’s bill proposal.

“A major reason for the popularity of Ozempic – and its resulting shortage – has been because of the drug’s weight loss benefits,” Sen. Kelly said. “This bill would empower the consumer protection commissioner and allow us to focus on the people who most need these medications and make sure they can get access to them.”