What's the Solution to Skyrocketing Insulin Costs?

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Soaring insulin costs are preventing many people with diabetes from getting the treatment they need. In response, the Endocrine Society, an international medical organization, issued a statement imploring manufacturers, pharmacies, insurers, and others to lower out-of-pocket expenses for the potentially lifesaving medication.

In the past 15 years, insulin costs have nearly tripled. More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and approximately 84 million more have prediabetes. About 7.4 million children and adults in the United States require insulin — the only treatment for type 1 diabetes — to treat their condition, and most need at least one vial of insulin per month. As type 2 diabetes progresses, many people with this condition also need insulin to prevent serious complications.

The higher deductibles associated with a growing number of health insurance plans are putting more and more of the burden on health care consumers with diabetes, often keeping them from taking their insulin. It’s estimated that taking insulin regularly and not skipping doses could prevent about 700,000 emergency room visit and 341,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States.

Policy changes recommended by the Endocrine Society include:

  • Controlling list-price increases
  • Limiting patients’ cost-sharing to a co-pay
  • Making human insulins available at no cost
  • Passing along rebates to diabetes patients without increasing premiums or deductibles
  • Training health care providers to use and prescribe lower-cost human insulins, when appropriate
  • Making patient assistance programs more accessible

Sourced from: Endocrine Society