Diabetes Group Launches Campaign Over High Insulin Prices

With research showing that the price of lifesaving insulin has increased by more than 200 percent over an 11-year period, the American Diabetes Association has asked members to join it in speaking out against rising insulin prices.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is taking stock of a troubling trend—one that’s costing patients dearly.

Last week, the association released a resolution speaking out against the rising cost of insulin and released a companion petition to drive public interest in the issue.

“No one in need of lifesaving insulin should ever go without it due to prohibitive costs,” Desmond Schatz, MD, ADA’s president of medicine and science, said in a news release. “We call on Congress and all those involved in the insulin supply chain to solve this crisis and to protect the millions of Americans who need insulin to stay alive. We also invite all Americans to join us in taking action by signing our petition.”

ADA’s petition, released by its board of directors, points out that the annual treatment cost of diabetes, gestational diabetes, and prediabetes rose by 48 percent between 2007 and 2012, to $322 billion, and that the consistent price increases for insulin were causing hardships for those suffering from the disease. This is despite the fact that the original patent expired 75 years ago.

Insulin is the main driver of the high cost of treatment. According to a Journal of the American Medical Association analysis highlighted by The Washington Post, insulin spending spiked by 218 percent between 2002 and 2013, while non-insulin therapies dropped by 15 percent over the same period.

“[I]nsulin is frequently cited as one of the most expensive categories of drugs by private and government health care payers, with insulin leading the list of price hikes for non-generic drugs in a recent government report on Medicare spending,” the resolution stated.

The resolution called on a top-down analysis of the entire business model for selling insulin, along with a call for Congress to take action on the issue.

ADA may get that action, thanks in part to one of the nation’s most prominent politicians. Earlier this month, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) released a video on his Twitter page, in which he spoke out against out-of-control insulin prices, and, with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), sent a letter to top officials that spoke out on the issue.

“This is an issue of tremendous national significance,” the letter [PDF], sent to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, stated.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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