Crossing The Border For More Affordable Insulin (A Latino USA Podcast)

Jun 1, 2021
1:10 PM
Originally published at Latino USA

Featured image by Kinsee Morlan.

From KPBS and PRX, “Port of Entry” tells personal stories of love, hope, struggle and survival, from fronterizas and fronterizos and other people whose lives are shaped by the wall.

Despite the pandemic and travel restrictions, people are still crossing into Tijuana for medical procedures and medications. They’re looking to save money on everything from discount dental work and weight-loss surgery to more affordable insulin. People like Liz Salcido, who has Type 2 diabetes, needs insulin daily, just to survive. But sometimes, when money is tight, she’s had to ration the life-saving drug.

“We had to make a choice, pay this bill or buy the insulin,” Salcido said. “So, I’ve struggled in the last few years because of the high cost of health insurance and sometimes I’m without insurance and so I don’t have my medications.”

Eventually, though, the Chula Vista grandma realized she could just cross the border and buy more affordable insulin in Tijuana.

But that solution stopped being an option when the pandemic hit last year. People with diabetes are considered high-risk when it comes to COVID, so Salcido found herself having to ration insulin again.

In a new episode of “Port of Entry,” we continue our series on medical tourism with a story about Salcido and another San Diego woman who went on a journey to find more affordable insulin across the border in Tijuana.

It’s really a story about the fine line between life and death, the balancing act people with diabetes have to navigate every single day, and how crossing the border can be a liferaft for those who can’t afford high drug prices in the U.S.

This episode was produced by Kinsee Morlan, Alan Lilienthal, and Emily Jankowski.


Latino USA with Maria Hinojosa, produced by Futuro Media, is the longest-running Latino-focused program on U.S. public media.