Insulin Costs Double in Recent Years

JANUARY 23, 2019
Colleen Hall
Patients who have type 1 diabetes spent a lot more to treat themselves in 2016 than in 2012. Specifically, insulin prices alone almost doubled, according to a report issued this week by the Health Care Cost Institute.1

"We conclude that increases in insulin spending were primarily driven by increases in insulin prices, and to a lesser extent, a shift towards use of more expensive products," wrote report authors Jean Fuglesten Biniek and William Johnson. The authors analyzed claims data from 3 large insurers. 

 The report authors noted that people with type 1 diabetes spent $5,705 on insulin in 2016, up from $2,864 in 2012. 

The report comes just one week after Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Maryland, who is the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform announced that he has sent letters to 12 drug companies seeking detailed information and documents about the companies’ pricing practices. The committee will several hearings in the coming weeks to hear from experts, as well as patients affected by rising drug prices.

Current estimates project that diabetes was the most expensive chronic illness in the United States in 2017, at a total of more than $327 billion per year including $15 billion for insulin.²

In November of 2018, on the second anniversary of the Make Insulin Affordable initiative, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) announced that more than 400,000 diabetes advocates have joined the call for affordable insulin for all who need it. After its examination of the insulin supply chain, ADA and its Insulin Access and Affordability Working Group published recommendations and public policy solutions to address the problem.The ADA’s Make Insulin Affordable website includes information and resources for people who are struggling to pay for insulin, including new patient assistance programs recently launched by the insulin manufacturers as well as private assistance programs. The site also includes important links to information about the health insurance marketplaces and how to become a Diabetes Advocate.

References
1.  Biniek Fuglesten J, Jonson W. Spending on Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes and the Role of Rapidly Increasing Insulin Prices. Health Care Institute website. 2018; Accessed at: https://www.healthcostinstitute.org/research/publications/entry/spending-on-individuals-with-type-1-diabetes-and-the-role-of-rapidly-increasing-insulin-prices
2. Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2017. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2018; dci180007. https://doi.org/10.2337/dci18-0007.








 

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