Insulin prices are skyrocketing, for no apparent reason, and it’s shaping up as a hot button 2020 election issue.
The cost of insulin has tripled between 2002 and 2013, according to a study by the American Diabetes Association. In addition, Medicare Part D spending on insulin jumped 840 percent between 2007 to 2017, from $1.4 billion to $13.3 billion! These price jumps far outpace the increase in the number of actual diabetic patients that rely on this drug to live.
Insulin Prices: Senior Citizens Hard Hit
All totaled, Americans with diabetes, the majority of whom are senior citizens, face insulin prices that average more than $5,000 per year! The negative consequences can be life threatening. A growing number of patients who rely on insulin are forced to resort to rationing or skipping doses entirely because they can’t afford the medication.
“Insulin is not a luxury; it’s not a drug that people can do without,” says LaShawn McIver, M.D., senior vice president of government affairs and advocacy at the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Skipping a dose and certainly a number of doses, can lead to health complications, even death.
The recent price hikes on insulin, more so than other prescription drugs, is seen by consumers as drug companies making exorbitant profits at their expense.
Hot Button Election Issue
The Trump administration is working on a proposal to lower out-of-pocket insulin costs for older Americans. And Democratic candidates are discussing the medication on the campaign trail. All seven of the Democratic candidates scheduled to participate in the Feb. 7 debate criticise the high cost of insulin, with many posting to social media.
Congress is also investigating these price increases, and several states are working on laws to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs for diabetics.
The key point to keep in mind is that if prices don’t come down, diabetics are liable to suffer serious health consequences.