Rise in Insulin Prices Results in Insurance Issues

Millions of Americans continue to suffer from the rising prices of insulin on the market. As of writing, vials cost an estimate of $300 per piece. Following the recent price hikes of the drug, numerous citizens who have Type 1 diabetes live without a choice, thus often resulting in insulin rationing or completely foregoing this type of medication. This leaves the price of this drug almost tripling from 2002 to 2013.

To accommodate the rising employee health care coverage and insurance, employers will adjust their plans as costs come up to almost $15,000 per employee. According to Stephen Miller from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 2019 sees a drop in employers offering CDHPs, coming from 39 per cent in 2018 to 30 per cent in 2019. Patients who are on Medicare but have no private insurance or who have limited insurance coverage need to shoulder more than $10,000 in expenses for their medication.

According to Dr Ofri from her piece from The New York Times, insulin is expensive because this drug seeks to produce what is lacking in a person’s living cells. However, she states that the issue is those big-name companies refusing to make this medication accessible, resorting to tweaking formulas simply to have the drug patented under a new name yet keeping it within the mother brand’s jurisdiction.

Sanofi, one of the key manufacturers in the industry, states that countering the price hikes of this drug is possible. Marilyn Schairer of WGBH reports that the company is currently in the works for finding ways to reduce individuals’ out of pocket expenses. One of their initiatives includes the Insulins VALyou Savings Program which allows users to buy a set of two Sanofi 10 millilitre vials at a set price of $99. Since April of 2018, Schairer reports that there have been more than 6,500 people who have signed up under this program.

WGBH further reports that lawmakers such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, Illinois Representative Jan Schakowsky, and Massachusetts Representative Kate Hogan have been fighting to make insulin more affordable and accessible to the public.