A Boy’s Diabetes Affects His Life — and the Lives of Families Across the Nation


Every day Paul Byler wakes up and gets ready for his life of traveling, reading and working. Still, when Mr. Byler has complained about his fatigue, he has been told he had just a shortness of breath. Then, a year ago, he went to the doctor, who diagnosed him with Type 1 diabetes.

“I had known something was wrong with me for a while,” said Mr. Byler, who lives in Lemoyne, Pa. “The long-term plan was to save enough money for two years of treatments so that I could end up with diabetes without the complications.”

It is a plan that has worked. A year later, he has had no trips to the emergency room and no need for insulin injections, even though he is still below normal body weight. What he considers a miracle is a drug that controls his blood sugar.

Health experts caution that the drug Mr. Byler took, ertugliflozin, is not available on the shelves of most grocery stores and has been in limited use by some hospitals. That could change if Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, whose agency has jurisdiction over the prescription-drug program, continues his opposition to covering the drug, which is made by Pfizer.

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