American Diabetes Association® Reaffirms Commitment to Insulin Access and Affordability for All—Transparency on Insulin Pricing Critical

More than 400,000 individuals have signed the ADA’s Make Insulin Affordable petition, as the ADA marks second anniversary of the initiative.

ARLINGTON, Va. (November 16, 2018) — On the second anniversary of the Make Insulin Affordable initiative, the American Diabetes Association® (ADA) announces that more than 400,000 Diabetes Advocates have joined the call for affordable insulin for all who need it—the largest response to an ADA call to action to date. After its examination of the insulin supply chain, ADA and its Insulin Access and Affordability Working Group (Working Group) published recommendations and public policy solutions to address the problem. The ADA reaffirms its commitment to implementing these solutions and achieving affordable insulin for all who need it.

418,220 people have signed the petition. Their voices have been heard. Diabetes Advocates called for Congressional hearings to investigate the reasons for the dramatic increases in insulin costs. The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging answered with a hearing in May of this year. Chief Scientific, Medical, and Mission Officer William T. Cefalu, MD, testified about the impact of the high costs on individuals with diabetes.

Diabetes Advocates called for Congress to take action to ensure all people who need insulin have affordable access. The Congressional Diabetes Caucus answered by releasing a list of policy recommendations they intend to pursue. Many of the Caucus’ recommendations align closely with ADA’s own proposals.

“There is no substitute for insulin, and access to insulin is a matter of life and death for more than 7.5 million Americans with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Too many are faced with the unacceptable choice of either rationing or forgoing insulin doses to reduce out-of-pocket costs, despite the serious and potential deadly complications of improper insulin dosing,” said Dr. Cefalu. “We are grateful for the continued collaboration of Congressional leaders to help us address this critical problem, including Senate Diabetes Caucus Co-Chairs Susan Collins and Jeanne Shaheen, and Congressional Diabetes Caucus Co-Chairs Diana DeGette and Tom Reed. Long-term solutions to this problem are our shared priority.”

Since the launch of ADA’s campaign, increased pressure from Diabetes Advocates has had a tangible impact for people with diabetes. States have passed legislation to require drug coverage to be more patient friendly. More discounts negotiated in the insulin supply chain will be shared with people with diabetes. These milestones are important, but our work will not be complete until individuals with diabetes see relief at the pharmacy counter.

The average price of insulin nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013[1]. The rising cost of and access to insulin ultimately impacts everyone and especially people with diabetes and their families, health care providers, insurers, employers and our national health care system. Current estimates project that diabetes was the most expensive chronic illness in the U.S. in 2017, at a total of more than $327 billion per year including $15 billion for insulin[2].

The ADA’s Make Insulin Affordable website (makeinsulinaffordable.org) 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.

“High insulin costs are impacting millions. We remain resolute in our commitment to meaningful solutions for this crisis,” concluded Dr. Cefalu.

[1] Hua X, Carvalho N, Tew M, Huang ES, Herman WH, Clarke P. Expenditures and prices of antihyperglycemic medications in the United States: 2002-2013. JAMA 2016;315: 1400–1402.

[2] Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2017. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care 2018; Mar; dci180007. https://doi.org/10.2337/dci18-0007.