This post originally appeared on Hugging the Cactus on September 23, 2020. Just over one year later, I’m sharing it again because it’s a reminder that life with diabetes is filled with the unexpected, and it’s important to be proactive when dealing with these curveballs. Read on to find out how I handled the broken insulin vial…
As soon as I opened the package, I knew something was wrong.
The contents of said package were five vials of insulin – my regular 90-day supply. On the surface, nothing seemed wrong. They arrived in their usual styrofoam cooler that was taped shut. After removing the tape, I saw four ice packs next to the plastic packaging containing the insulin vials; again, this was all expected.
When I picked up the plastic package and used scissors to cut it open, though, a pungent odor greeted my nose.
A medicinal, harsh, familiar scent…the smell of insulin.
Upon further investigation, I discovered that one of the five cardboard boxes encasing the vials was totally damp to the touch. Gingerly, I opened it from the bottom flap, which was sticking out slightly due to the wetness. That’s when I saw the shattered insulin vial: Somehow, the bottom part of the vial had broken, spilling and wasting all of its contents.
I was shocked. In all my years of diabetes, nothing like this had ever happened to me before!
I didn’t really give my next step a second thought: Immediately, I jumped on the phone with Express Scripts, which is the mail order pharmacy that I use for my insulin and some other medications. I spoke with and explained the issue to a customer service representative, who connected me with a technician that promised a replacement vial would be mailed to me at no additional cost to make up for the broken one. I asked if they needed me to send the broken one back to them, but I was reassured that it wouldn’t be necessary because I had called them so they could document the incident.
My issue was resolved, just like that, in fewer than 15 minutes. While it was annoying to have to take time out of my day to figure that out, I’m very happy that I got a replacement quickly and easily. But really, where was quality control on this one?!
Insulin is expensive, as we all know. And to see that a perfectly good vial full of it was rendered useless due to defective packaging was a major punch to the gut, indeed.