THE INQUIRER (PHILADELPHIA): High insulin costs have diabetes patients, doctors scrambling for answers

By Ilene Raymond Rush

When his type 1 diabetes patients can’t keep up with the high cost of insulin, Mark Schutta half-jokingly offers a radical solution: Buy an off-season ticket to France.

On a recent trip to the country, Schutta visited a small-town pharmacy to price several types of insulin and found that they cost one-fifth or one-sixth the U.S. price. So now the director of the Rodebaugh Center for Diabetes at Penn wryly advises patients to head to Europe to purchase a year’s supply and bring it home.

Federal authorities, who frown on people carrying large amounts of foreign drugs into the county, may not agree. But the rising cost of insulin and other supplies required to manage diabetes is such a huge issue that Schutta’s suggestion could sound like a great idea to many people.

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DIABETES.CO.UK: US government urged to cap soaring insulin costs

By Jack Woodfield

The US government is being urged to take action over soaring insulin prices in America.

The average price of insulin has nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013, making accessing insulin very difficult for many Americans with diabetes.

The American Medical Association (AMA) is calling on the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department to start lowering the price of insulin and monitor market competition in a bid to keep a tighter control of increasing costs.

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MEDICAL BAG: AMA: Federal Government Must Tackle Rising Insulin Prices

By Staff

U.S. officials need to take action to control spiking insulin prices, the American Medical Association (AMA) says.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department should monitor insulin pricing and market competition and take any necessary enforcement measures, AMA members agreed at the group’s annual meeting. The nation’s largest physicians group said the rising cost of insulin is causing big financial problems for patients, Medicare and Medicaid.

The mean price of insulin rose nearly 200 percent between 2002 and 2013, from $4.34 to $12.92 per milliliter. Currently, at least five states and a federal prosecutor are seeking information from insulin manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers, and class action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of patients.

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CW39 HOUSTON: Nearly half of diabetics skimp on treatment due to high insulin cost

By G. Trudeau

Almost half of diabetics in America have cut back on treatment at some point due to the price of insulin hitting new heights.

“Its not regulated so, if you don’t have a lot of competition for something like insulin that’s available for folks, then the price is going to be pretty much jacked up,” says Dr. Ezemenari Obasi, an associate dean of Research at the University of Houston. According to the American Diabetes Association, between 2002 and 2013 the average price of insulin has nearly tripled.

Another study published today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found a link between diabetes and pancreatic cancer.

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CBS: Study: Almost half of the diabetics skip medical care due to costs

By Kate Gibson

Almost half of diabetics are cutting back on treatment because of costs, according to a new survey that comes as the skyrocketing price of insulin is prompting lawmakers and physicians to call for more oversight. The American Medical Association, the largest association of physicians in the U.S., last week called for federal intervention to protect diabetics from being exploited by price gouging on insulin products. The group wants the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department to track insulin pricing and market competition to protect consumers.

“It is shocking and unconscionable” that patients are struggling to get a basic medicine like insulin, AMA board member William A. McDade said in a statement. Insulin is one of many essential drugs across all categories of pharmaceuticals to show substantial increases in price, the lobbying group for American physicians noted. The average price of insulin nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013, according to the American Diabetes Association.

The life-saving drug is used to treat diabetes, a disease in which the body fails to properly regulate blood sugar, and afflicts nearly one in 10, or roughly 30 million Americans. Costs for insulin from two manufactures rose nearly 8 precent last year. No generic version of the almost 100-year-old drug exists, and three manufacturers — Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk — control 99 percent of the market. That’s prompted some lawmakers to call for more transparency about insulin pricing, while Nevada passed a law last year that will require insulin makers to disclose information on pricing, profits and discounts to pharmacy benefit managers.

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MANAGED CARE: Nevada Pushes for Transparency On Diabetes Drug Prices

By Ed Silverman

As rising drug prices became a hot political issue, Yvanna Cancela was looking for a way to make a difference. So early last year, the Nevada state senator introduced a transparency bill that would require drugmakers to report pricing, costs, and rebates—but only concerning diabetes medications.

The move quickly gained notice. Transparency bills were being studied by legislators around the country, and California and Vermont had already taken the next step by enacting laws. But these efforts did not distinguish among medications for different diseases. Cancela, however, thought diabetes needed extra attention.

“Drug costs across the board are high, but the increase in insulin costs, an almost century-old drug, seemed outrageous to me,” says the Nevada Democrat, who previously worked as political director of the Culinary Workers Union. “I think patients deserve to understand why their drugs are expensive.

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DIABETES HEALTH: Researchers Examine the Cost of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2017

By Diabetes Health Staff

According to a new study completed by the American Diabetes Association, the total cost of diagnosed diabetes for 2017 was estimated at $327 billion. This includes $237 billion spent on direct medical cost and $90 billion in productivity reductions.

According to researchers, diagnosed diabetes care accounts for 1 in every 4 health dollars in the U.S. Average medical expenditures were about $16,750 per year for individuals with diagnosed diabetes. Additionally, people with diagnosed diabetes had health expenditures of about 2.3 times higher than individuals without diabetes.

The increase over the past five years is staggering. After an adjustment for inflation, the economic cost of diabetes increased by 26% between 2012 and 2017.

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CLINICAL ADVISOR: Improving Insulin Access: ADA Public Policy Recommendations

By Madeline Morr

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has issued a public policy statement that outlines long- and short-term recommendations for improving insulin affordability.

The ADA’s recommendations include increasing transparency across the entire insulin supply chain; streamlining the approval process for biosimilar insulins; lowering or removing patient cost-sharing for insulin; and increasing access to healthcare coverage for all patients with diabetes.

According to the ADA, the cost of insulin has nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013, which has caused many patients with diabetes to choose between purchasing insulin and paying for other necessities.

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MEDICAL XPRESS: A young life lost to high insulin prices

By Serena Gordon

Alec Smith was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes shortly before his 24th birthday. When he turned 26, he lost his health insurance. Less than a month later, he lost his life because he couldn’t afford the exorbitant price of his life-saving insulin.

“Alec had a full-time job that didn’t offer health insurance. But because he was working full-time, he didn’t qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. The insurance he could get, the premium and the deductible were so high, he couldn’t afford to pay for a policy. His deductible would’ve been $7,600,” his mother, Nicole Smith-Holt, said.

When he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Smith-Holt said, her son was determined not to let the disease change his life. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to mistakenly attack healthy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that helps transport the sugar from foods into cells for use as fuel.

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AJMC: ADA Issues Recommendations Designed to Fix Insulin Pricing, Accessibility Crisis

By Allison Inserro

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) released a set of policy recommendations designed to spotlight the increasing difficulties patients with diabetes have affording insulin or gaining access to the life-saving medication through health insurance. The recommendations follow the findings of a working group that were presented to the Special Senate Committee on Aging earlier this month.

The cost of diabetes in the United States was $327 billion in 2017, a 26% jump from 2012. That figure includes $31 billion for medication, including $15 billion for insulin.

The public policy statement creates recommendations in 4 areas, including:

  • Streamlining the biosimilar process
  • Increasing pricing transparency throughout the insulin supply chain
  • Lowering or removing patient cost-sharing for insulin
  • Increasing access to healthcare coverage

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