People with type 1 diabetes need insulin to survive, but insulin prices have increased substantially. Patients are skipping their treatments to make their insulin supply last longer because they are not able to afford the high-priced insulin.
In recent months, there have been a few strategies to rein in the skyrocketing cost of insulin but none has yet been implemented.
One hope is President Joe Biden’s promise in his State of the Union address to pass the Build Back Better (BBB) Act, which would cap insulin copays at $35 a month, according to Medicine Net.
Other strategies of lowering insulin prices have also been pursued, including a plan by a nonprofit called Civica Rx, which recently announced manufacturing of three insulin products and selling it at an affordable price.
Dan Liljenquist, Lead Architect and Board Chair of Civica, said, “The price of manufacturing insulin has not gone up – it definitely hasn’t gone up 11% a year for 20 years.”
“When we manufacture insulin, we’re going to put it on the market at a wholesale price that only reflects how much we need to continue to manufacture. That’s it,” he added.
Lisa Murdock, Chief Advocacy Officer for the American Diabetes Association, said, “One in every three dollars spent on prescription drugs in this country is spent on a person with diabetes, so this community experiences an outsized impact of increasing drug costs.”
“People with diabetes who must take insulin are especially captive, and skipping or rationing doses becomes a dangerous reality for 1 in 4 insulin-dependent Americans,” she added. “Sadly, that number will continue to climb if patient costs keep rising.”
Liljenquist said, “Diabetics are paying way more than they should at the pharmacy counter. That money is then spread around to a whole bunch of people on the back end.”
Last week, Biden said, “It’s safe to say that all of us can agree that prescription drugs are outrageously expensive in this country. I’m committed to using every tool I have to lower prescription drug costs for Americans consistent with the drug companies getting a fair return on their investment.”
However, the real game-changer might be Civica because it has recently announced its plans to manufacture and sell generic versions of three major insulin products.
Liljenquist said, “We expect Civica insulin to be on the market as early as 2024,” adding that the company plans to be fully transparent in its insulin pricing.
“When we go to the retail market, we’re doing something no other drug company has ever done before – publish on our packaging what a fair price should be,” he added. “Just like you have a manufacturer suggested retail price on a book, we’re going to do that with insulin.”